College Area Teacher Cara Pedersen Honored as January Teacher of the Month

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 18, 2014) —- Cara Pedersen left her profitable corporate tax accountant life behind to pursue her calling: teaching third-grade math at Harriet Tubman Village Charter School in the College Area.

Cara Pedersen
Cara Pedersen, Third-Grade Math Teacher at Harriet Tubman Village Charter School

UPforEd, a parent advocacy nonprofit, created the Parent Choice Awards for teachers who exemplify Pedersen’s teaching passion and excellence. The honor includes a $500 cash card along with recognition from UPforEd staff and its membership. Parents who nominated Pedersen noted her special abilities to build student confidence and reduce classroom behavioral issues.


“Cara makes math fun for third graders – that’s no small task,” said Lisa Berlanga, Executive Director of UPforEd. “Corporate America’s loss is Tubman students’ and parents’ gain.”

After graduating from Cal Poly, Pedersen landed her first job as a successful corporate tax accountant. But she soon came to find the work did not suit her passions. She returned to San Diego State University to earn her teaching credential. The career shift seemed destined – her mother was a teacher.

She loved her first job in the seventh grade at Tubman Village Charter School, but when she had the chance, she decided she wanted to teach third graders.

As an experienced mathematician, she enjoys the way Tubman teaches math using methods that encourage, not just memorization of algorithms, but true understanding of math principles.


United Parents for Education, or UPforEd, believes every child deserves a high-quality education. Our mission is to substantially increase all students’ achievement within San Diego Unified School District by supporting children through a parent-led organization. 

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