Administration & Staff

Pacific Valley School boasts some of the most dedicated faculty and staff in the state. Our teachers are expert educators who work hard to make sure each student receives a truly tailored education. As a district, we make every decision with our students’ best interest in mind. We welcome you to get to know the members of our team and contact any one of them with your questions or concerns. 

Meet Our Team

Administration

Gordon Piffero
Superintendent/Principal
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About Gordon Piffero

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Susan Perry
Administrative Assistant
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Biography

Susan Perry

About Susan Perry

Susan Perry has been a part of Pacific Valley School since October of 1993. Susan has three daughters, two of whom graduated from PV. Susan loves Pacific Valley School because she feels that we are “one big family.” Susan is from Rhode Island where she grew up sailing, swimming, body boarding, and bicycling. Susan attended a private all-girls school in New London, Connecticut. After grade school, Susan attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, then moved to Big Sur and studied Early Childhood Education at Hartnell.
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Office Staff

Lisa Gering
School Secretary, Instructional Aide
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Sarah Harlan
Secretary, Preschool Instructor, Instructional Aide
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Teachers

Dave Allan
All Grade Levels: Art, Science, Music, Biology, Grants & Round Up
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Biography

Dave Allan

About Dave Allan

David Allan's life has carried him through the entire stretch of the magical Big Sur coast in many capacities. He has been an artist, a teacher, a surfer, a guitarist and jade carver, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and a commercial dory fisherman and naturalist. David has served for decades to provide fisheries research data to agencies like the UCSC Big Creek Reserve, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. David initiated and worked as the program coordinator for environmental projects such as the Big Sur contingent International Coastal Cleanup and The Ambassadors for the Arts and Environment. He has received a number of awards, including the Arts Council for Monterey County's Champions of the Arts Award in 2009, The California School Boards Association's Golden Bell Award for Program Excellence the same year, and the Governor's Environmental and Economics Leadership Award in 2005, just to name a few. Dave beat the odds by surviving cancer. He kept tough and continued his destined path of teaching. Dave felt strength in the love and support of his beautiful wife, Jana. He has been a teacher at Pacific Valley School for more than 20 years and was one of Big Sur Arts Initiative's original Art teachers. Community members may also know him as "The Unknown Legend of Captain Lingcod," the guy in that salty truck with a weathered fishing skiff on top. David has committed a large span of his life to Pacific Valley School and aims to outreach to the community of which he is part. David’s goals continue to be bringing to ALL the students a life-long discovery and scholarship through creativity and real-life project-based learning. He has a motto for it, “Life is Art, Art is Life!”
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Karen Beecher
Grades 4-12: Language Arts, Math, CA History, Geography, Special Education
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Biography

Karen Beecher

About Karen Beecher

Karen Zinniker Beecher fell in love with Pacific Valley School while camping at Plasket Campground and vowed to teach there one day. In 1999, her dream came true. Currently, she teaches High School Honors and AP English, AP Psychology, English, and Math for grades 4 through 8. She is also the Special Education Director, Education Specialist, and Behavior Intervention Case Manager. She graduated from Cal Poly SLO with a BA in Liberal Studies, Credential Track, received an Education Specialist Credential from Cal Poly, a K-8 Multi-subject Credential and a Masters in Science of Instructional Technology from University of California Monterey Bay, and a VSP single subject authorization for High School English. Karen lives in Cambria with her husband, Beech, and four Pomeranians. She has three children—sons Teague and Shea Uva, who are both grips living in Ventura, and daughter Blaize Uva, who is a cartographer and archeologist living in Cambria. A native of San Diego County, Karen lived in Escondido, Del Dios, Leucadia, and Australia before moving to Cambria in 1992. Karen’s previous occupations include being a naturalist for Camp KEEP Cambria Pines, an aide at Cayucos elementary, a preschool teacher, and a landscape designer. Karen’s passions include surfing, writing, reading, photography, Pomeranians, and education.
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Carl Grover
Grades 3-12: History, Math, Life Sciences
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About Carl Grover

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Gail Chambers
5th Grade Language Arts
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About Gail Chambers

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Gael Cunningham
Grades 5-12: All subjects

About Gael Cunningham

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Ellen Hall
TK-3 All Subjects and Grades 9-12th Spanish

About Ellen Hall

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Support Staff

Tafay Wilson
Food Services Director & Chef, Newsletter
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David Zweifel
Bus Driver/Maintenance
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Brooke
Custodian

Gail D.
Groundskeeper &
Garden Maintenance

 
Instructional Aides
Sarah Harlan
Lisa Gering
Lisa Eskridge
Gail D.
 

Food Service Assistants
Bunny Gries
Robin Burnside (volunteer)