SLO County Roundup

Pismo Beach

The adult children of the couple killed in a car collision in October while they were walking along a street in Pismo Beach have sued the driver and his mother, who owned the car.

Stephanie Theophilus and Dennis Mallin, residents of Washington state, filed a lawsuit Jan. 20 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against Jerardo Iriarte and his mother, Martha Iriarte.

The lawsuit claims that Jerardo Iriarte, a 19-year-old Oceano resident, was acting negligently when he veered off Highway 101, went down an embankment and struck and killed Bruce and Marjorie Mallin, also of Washington state, who were walking along Price Street on Oct. 16.

Jerardo Iriarte had been trying to reunite with his ex-girlfriend minutes before the wreck, according to police.

He faces separate criminal charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

According to the plaintiffs, Martha Iriarte was named as a defendant in the lawsuit because she owned the car and her son was operating the vehicle with her permission.

A lawsuit represents only one side of the story.

— Nick Wilson


The Templeton school district board has unanimously selected a superintendent who comes to the district after a 23-year career in a school district in Nuevo, a rural community in Riverside County.

Joe Koski has served as assistant superintendent of educational services for the Nuview Union School District since 2007, where he managed the day-to-day operations of two elementary schools, a middle school, a charter high school and an early childhood division serving children from birth through age 5.

In 2009, to help the district weather a financial crisis, he also became the interim high school principal.

District officials are negotiating a contract with Koski, including his salary, and expect to formally approve it Feb. 10, according to a news release from board President Margo Mosher. He will likely start Feb. 14.

The board began a search for a permanent superintendent last fall, after former Superintendent Deborah Bowers stepped down in late June. Jean Burns Slater is serving as interim superintendent for the 2010-11 school year.

According to Mosher, Koski was instrumental in helping the Nuview district achieve academic improvements while providing enrichment opportunities to connect students and families to the district.

He graduated from UC Riverside with a degree in liberal studies in 1986, earned a teaching credential in 1987 and a Master of Arts degree in school leadership from Cal State San Bernardino in 2002.

He has completed a doctoral program in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne and will defend his completed dissertation this spring.

The Templeton school district oversees Templeton Elementary School, with approximately 420 students in kindergarten through second grade; Vineyard Elementary, with about 450 students in grades third through fifth; Templeton Middle School with about 525 students; and Templeton High School with about 800 students.

It also has alternative education programs in Eagle Canyon Continuation High School, Templeton Adult School, Templeton Independent Study Program and Home School and an independent study program for kindergarten through eighth grade.

— Cynthia Lambert