Superintendent & Leadership

Erica Balakian
Superintendent
Executive Communications and Administrative Specialist | Michelle Flores
Ms. Erica Balakian joined Lemon Grove School District in October 2017 as the Executive Director of General Services. She was appointed by the Board to the Superintendent role in June 2019. She is an enthusiastic, student-centered leader with 20+ years of experience in K-12 public education - advancing academic achievement, educational equity, and operational excellence. She is a team builder with an accomplished record of performance in all facets of operations, developing collaborative partnerships, cultivating improved institutional practices, and promoting innovative solutions and dialogue. She is a proud graduate of our local schools and universities: Lincoln High School, Cal State San Marcos (BA Economics) and San Diego State University (MBA). She is a passionate, lifelong learner committed to the Lemon Grove School District and our mission to educate and elevate our diverse community of learners.
 
 
Rebecca Burton
Executive Director - Student Services & Special Education
Program Secretary | Rebecca Del Toro
Mrs. Rebecca Burton has worked as a district special education leader for 7 years, and her favorite part of this work is collaborating and working with all team members to achieve wonderful things for our students and families, especially our most vulnerable students. Her work in education started as a teacher at a small special education school in Baja, California in 2006, where she also was a house parent for students with special needs. This really incredible time gave her the spark and passion for learning how to support all learners, all people, from any background; so she eventually went back to LA to earn a Master's in Special Education and Education Specialist credential. From there, she spent most of my years teaching middle school and high school, both as a General Education teacher and Special Education teacher, doing anything from mod-sev programs to co-teaching in high school ELA. She transitioned into district leadership in 2014, because she saw an opportunity to be an advocate for school educators of all roles, so that together, they could build work spaces that work better for all students. She really looks forward to getting to know our team, students and families here in Lemon Grove! In her spare time, you will find her reading like a maniac, going to parks with her husband Joe, daughter Sadie and our dogs, and on a special occasion getting out for some horseback riding. 

Tomas Chavez
Executive Director - Human Resources
Confidential Administrative Secretary II | Madeline Makings
Mr. Tomas Chavez grew up in the Lemon Grove community, he graduated from Morse High School and received his teaching credential, administrative credential, and Masters in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.  Mr. Chavez began his career in education as a middle school math and science teacher at EJE Academies Charter School, a dual immersion school in El Cajon.  He then transitioned into various roles supporting teachers and staff that included Instructional Coach, Data & Assessment Coordinator, Assistant Principal and Principal.  He was the founding principal of Imagine Schools Riverside County, a dual immersion bilingual charter school that serves the Hemet and San Jacinto community.  Mr. Chavez relocated back to San Diego and joined the Lemon Grove School District team as the principal of Mt Vernon School where he has spent the last year implementing the vision of providing 21st century learning experiences while fostering caring relationships for our students. As a collaborative and servant school leader, Mr. Chavez has three basic principles: 1) put students first, 2) serve the needs of the community, 3) foster a welcoming and positive environment for our students and families.  He aspires to a district culture of high expectations that celebrates diversity and multiculturalism.

Sheree Stopper
Chief Business Official (CBO)
Confidential Administrative Secretary II | Jessica Odanga
Ms. Sheree Stopper has proudly served the students, staff, parents and community of Lemon Grove School District since January 2018. She was appointed as the Chief Business Official in July of 2019. In the CBO role, Ms. Stopper oversees Fiscal Services, Maintenance and Operations Services, Technology and Network Services, Child Nutrition Services, and the Extended Day Program (EDP). Prior to coming to Lemon Grove School District she began her career in public education with the San Diego County Office of Education as the Payroll Services Manager, in which she provided technical expertise and advisory services regarding payroll administration to the County Office, School Districts, Community Colleges, and Charter Schools. In August 2018, Ms. Stopper earned her Chief Business Official (CBO) certification through the the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO). Additionally, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Pacific University, and a Master of Science focused in Taxation from National University.
 

Marianna Vinson
Executive Director - Educational Services
Confidential Administrative Secretary II | Autumn Cropp
Marianna Vinson is a first-generation college graduate who started her teaching career in San Diego county after graduating from Stanford University.  After receiving advanced degrees from San Diego State University and National University, Marianna became a principal and then a district leader, including serving as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for a district in Riverside County.  In 2014 Marianna was hired by the White House to serve as Deputy Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C.  During that appointment she led English Learner services for the nation and was involved in the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Most recently, Marianna has served as a consultant and coach for InnovateEd, building culture, capacity and coherence in school districts across the state.  Marianna grew up in the south bay and looks forward to serving the students and staff of Lemon Grove.  She and her husband have two high-school aged children.