Del Mar school district honors legacy of longtime trustee Janet Lamborghini


By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) honored and celebrated the memory of longtime trustee Janet Lamborghini, “a champion for children,” who passed away on May 5 at the age of 73.

Board President Doug Rafner led the recognition of Lamborghini at the May 22 board meeting, reading comments submitted by DMUSD teachers and staff that knew her well. She was described as a “remarkable woman, so very bright and loving and giving.”

“Janet was the ultimate advocate for education,” read one tribute. “She was always sincere in her support of our schools and her only agenda was the best education possible for all of our Del Mar students. She gave of herself completely and selflessly and was a tremendous asset to the children, teachers and community of Del Mar.”

Lamborghini was on the DMUSD board for 16 years, leaving the board in 2008. She served as president several times and during a time of tremendous growth — when she joined the board in 1992 there were only three schools in the district, Carmel Del Mar had just opened and there were 45 employees and about 1,200 students. During her service, she saw the district swell from three to eight schools.

Trustee Doug Perkins was the only current board member to serve with Lamborghini.

As he was “the new kid on the block,” he said Janet was gracious with her time, willing to take him under her wing and help him understand issues and protocols.

Likewise, trustee Scott Wooden said when he was running for the board she gave him a lot of insight and wisdom.

As a board member, she was described as “professional yet personable.” She had a passion for music and particularly enjoyed hearing the student choirs perform. Her background in science (she had a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in biology from Tufts University) helped in the planning and implementation of the Extended Studies Curriculum.

She was a longtime parent volunteer in the schools, serving as a PTA president, the Geography Olympiad and math coach at Del Mar Heights, offering her “time and talents to tutor students even after her own children were no longer there.”

She was also the Dollars for Scholars treasurer at Torrey Pines High School and during her tenure on the committee, there were several anonymous donations for scholarships that were later disclosed to be from Lamborghini herself.

In 2011, the San Diego County School Boards Association honored Lamborghini as the Community Partner of the Year.

As she stepped down in 2008, a City of San Diego resolution made it “Janet Lamborghini Day” in San Diego.

“I’ve enjoyed many aspects of this job but the one I love the most was being a cheerleader for all the talented people who make this district the best,” Lamborghini said on her honorary day.

A memorial service will be held for Lamborghini on June 29 at noon at El Camino Memorial Park in Sorrento Valley.