Grandmother, granddaughter teach together at Sage Canyon

Erica Byrne and her grandmother Barbara Schulman taught class together at Sage Canyon Elementary School.
(Karen Billing)

Sage Canyon Elementary School became home to what might be the first-ever grandmother and granddaughter teaching team when last month longtime educator Barbara Schulman, who turns 82 on Dec. 5, shared a classroom with her substitute teacher granddaughter Erica Byrne.

Schulman has been a teacher for 55 years, starting her career in Kansas. After moving to San Diego to be closer to family, she found herself volunteering at Ocean Air School when Erica was a student there. Eventually she became an employee and she has now been with the district for 15 years, spending the last three at Sage Canyon as a classroom aid.

After graduating from Torrey Pines High School, Byrne went on to attend UC San Diego. The 23-year-old just graduated college and asked her grandma about where she might be able to find a job. Byrne started substitute teaching in the district about a month ago.

With the regular teacher out of the classroom on Nov. 15, grandmother and granddaughter subbed together.

“I have always admired my grandma’s job, it’s a lot more fun than I thought it was,” said Byrne.

While Schulman said teaching might be in her granddaughter’s DNA, Byrne has plans to attend flight school and become a pilot.

“It was surreal in a way, it was fun and very satisfying,” said Schulman of their day working side by side in the classroom. “And it was touching. You don’t think about that ever happening.”