34 Years of Service
Pleasant Valley School District
” It may be surprising that I had never really had an early desire in being a teacher… ”
Marilyn Bjork has been a true teaching legend in the Pleasant Valley School District since she began her 34-year career in the 1970’s at Los Altos Middle School in Camarillo.
In her early years, Bjork was an integral part of Team Instruction, involving three teachers who coordinated curriculum and activities for Social Studies, History, English, and reading for grades 7 and 8.
Bjork is best known throughout the community and other parts of Southern California for guiding and coaching her award-winning students in the Camino Real Speech League. Under her expert tutelage, Los Altos students consistently earned top honors. She has been tireless in developing and promoting students’ talents and abilities in competitive speaking. She also helped launch the Speech program at Moorpark College.
Moreover, Bjork encouraged art, music, song, and dance within the theater arts program. She sponsored school-wide talent shows and provided students with the opportunities to write, speak, act, direct, create sets, handle lighting and sound in her theater classes.
This dynamic teacher was also the school coordinator of the state-funded Los Altos School Improvement Program (SIP) for eight years. In this capacity she worked with administrators, teachers, parents, and students on School Site Councils guiding the various curricular departments to set written goals and objectives beyond the base program. Under SIP, later SBCP (School Based Coordinated Program), she pioneered Career Days which brought 30-40 speakers to the school to share their careers with students. She also developed a “shadowing” opportunity for students in which they followed a worker on a job, a new idea at the time.
With so much talent and expertise, especially in speech, it was obvious to all who worked with her that Bjork would become one of the first district mentors in 1983.
She retained this honor and shared the wealth of knowledge and experience in speech for the next 10 years in the state mentor program.
Under her SIP leadership, Los Altos received the National Distinguished School Award in 1987. Her other numerous awards include: PTA Honorary Service Award in 1981 and 1993; Achievement in Education Award from the Noontime Optimist Club in 1990; Educator of the Month, Camarillo Chamber of Commerce in October 1988; Educator of the Year Award, Camarillo Chamber of Commerce in 1990; Speech Coach of the Year, Moorpark College in 1986; Voice of Democracy Award, Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1991; Teacher of the Year for Los Altos School in 1990 and 1993; and the Amgen Award for Teacher Excellence in 1994. In 2003 Bjork received the PTSA Golden Oak Award, the highest honor the Pleasant Valley PTSA can bestow.
Now retired, Bjork still keeps active in the community. She planned and directed the Pleasant Valley School District Third Grade Speech Tournament in May.