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Julie Norby is retiring after 39 years teaching in Solana Beach, Fallbrook
Carlsbad native Julie Norby is retiring after 39 years as an educator at Solana Beach School District and Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. Photos by Tigist Layne
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Local educator Julie Norby retiring after 39 years

SOLANA BEACH – Local educator and Carlsbad native Julie Norby announced her retirement from education after 39 years. Norby, who has known that she wanted to be an educator since she was 6 years old, is saying goodbye to the profession she has loved for so long.

Norby, 61, has had the rare gift of knowing exactly what she wanted to do from a very young age. She even remembers lining up her stuffed animals and teaching them like they were in a classroom.

“My mother says she never remembers me wanting to be anything else,” Norby said. “Maybe at around 8 or 9 years old, I saved up all my allowance and bought one of those chalkboard easels that had a chalkboard on it. So I could use it in my ‘classroom.’ I always wanted to be a teacher and I’ve never regretted it once.”

Norby studied education at University of California Irvine before starting her career as a teacher at Irvine Unified School District. 

From there she went on to Solana Beach School District where she spent a total of 28 years as a teacher and as a principal at Solana Santa Fe Elementary School. Five years ago, she joined the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District as the associate superintendent of educational services.

Norby explained that one of the things she’s proudest of is the impact she made by putting together strong teams that made tangible differences.

“In Solana Beach, I had the honor of kind of facilitating their stem program and starting that program, and when you have a strong team that you’re all on the same page and you’re moving in the same direction, there’s just nothing you can’t do. And I’ve had the pleasure of working on some really high performing teams over the years. I’m proud of that,” Norby said.

In a Facebook post last week, Norby announced that she will be retiring at the end of this school year. She and her husband, Carlsbad Councilmember Peter Norby, are “looking forward to traveling and to a slower pace of life,” according to the post.

The post received hundreds of comments from Norby’s current and former colleagues and students, all about how much of a wonderful impact she has had on students and the community.

Julie Norby is retiring after 39 years teaching in Solana Beach, Fallbrook
Julie Norby said she proudest of the impact she made by putting together strong teams that made tangible differences. Photos by Tigist Layne

“I’ll certainly miss the kids – it’s why we all go into this – we want to make a difference for kids,” Norby said. “And I think that’s going to be really hard as I retire, knowing that I’m not, on a daily basis, doing something that I’d like to believe was making a difference with kids.”

Norby also acknowledged how difficult the past couple of years have been for her, her colleagues, her students and education systems everywhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope that as we move forward, not just here in Fallbrook, but in our profession that we are really able to get through this pandemic and get back to what I call the business of school,” Norby said. “We really have become frontline healthcare workers, and that puts teaching kids secondary to the safety, health and wellbeing of our students. Although safety is always our number one concern for kids, it’s taken on a whole different meaning with the pandemic.”

“We have a lot of work to do,” Norby continued. “The pandemic has rested on our children’s shoulders, and we have a lot of work to do to get them healthy again, socially, emotionally and mentally.”