Now in her 12th year at Los Encinos School, Joanne Vaisman has had the pleasure of enrolling all three of her children at LES. Alex graduated in 2017, and is now at Milken; Sydney is currently in fifth grade; and Jack just entered kindergarten. In fact, half of Mrs. Vaisman’s tenure at the school has been spent teaching kindergarten (with the other half devoted to first grade). This year, she’s in first grade to give Jack some space.
When asked whether it’s a positive experience to teach in the same school that her children attend, she answers with an emphatic, “Yes! I feel so lucky to have them at LES and get a glimpse of them in their school lives.”
Mrs. Vaisman grew up in Los Angeles, and her parents still live in her childhood home. She attended Oakwood for K-12, then went to UC San Diego for her undergraduate degree, and later earned her teaching credential and master’s degree in education at San Diego State.
Her first job was teaching kindergarten at Kester Avenue Elementary in Van Nuys where she stayed for six years until she ran into an old elementary school friend she hadn’t seen in 25 years at a teacher’s conference. That friend was none other than Bri Miller, another veteran elementary school teacher who was already employed at Los Encinos. Bri described Los Encinos School over lunch at the conference, Joanne interviewed with Mrs. Reinfeld a month later, and Joanne started working side-by-side with Bri the following September.
Joanne, surrounded by her “former students” (her younger siblings, Stephanie and Brian).
Grandparents & Special Friends Day, 2017
When asked what got her interested in teaching, Mrs. Vaisman says she always wanted to work with children, and points to her third grade teacher, Shirley, as a big inspiration. Fun Fact: Joanne and Bri turned Joanne’s bedroom into a “school” when they were kids, enlisting the help of Joanne’s younger twin siblings to play the students.
In addition, both of Joanne’s parents were educators. Her mom taught fourth grade, and her father was a math professor. LES families may recognize her parents, Barbara and Marc Glucksman, as they are actively involved in their grandkids’ lives and are regularly seen at school.
Another well-known figure around campus, of course, is Joanne’s husband, Dr. Boris Vaisman. Boris even joined Joanne on the LES service trips to Haiti in 2016 and 2017. They met when they were both ninth graders at Oakwood, and started dating in eleventh grade. The two of them will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in July, 2019.
Joanne says the service projects that are championed by Los Encinos School make working here special. She also enjoys, “Events that bring the community together, such as Virginia Reel and Sports Day.”
Playing against her son Alex in the Faculty vs. Sixth Grade basketball game last year was a particular highlight.
Joanne’s pride in Los Encinos School, however, is most evident when she discusses the school’s outlook. “[LES] puts the children first,” she says, “and teachers are supported and trusted.”
Faculty vs. 6th grade basketball game, 2017.
When asked one of the final Faculty in Focus questions about whether or not she has a favorite quotation, Joanne immediately offers something her grandfather (aka “Pops”) always said: “To love is family.” With thirteen grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren ranging in age from 13 years to 2 weeks, Pops’ adage seems appropriate. Joanne adds, “My grandparents were the glue, and even though they’ve both been gone for nearly ten years now, every one of us shares their value of family.”