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Tierrasanta Village Leadership - Board of Directors
Tierrasanta Village of San Diego is managed by a Board of Directors (see below). The Board of Directors includes reliable, ethical and experienced leaders with extensive profiles, qualifications and a passionate investment in the future of the Village. This is a "working" board.

Ken Ross - President

Ken Ross was born and raised in Southern Maine. His parents taught him through their involvements that it is important to be active in your community. One should seek to help improve the lives of those less fortunate. This encouraged Ken to ‘get involved’ early in life and has continued throughout his working career. Boy Scouts played a key role in his development. Ultimately, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Attending the local Congregational Church and becoming involved with its youth group was a significant contributor to his commitment to faith. In high school he played soccer, basketball, and golf. In addition, he acted in the school plays/musicals. His favorite role was Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music. As a 21-year-old junior in college, his town elected him to its Board of Education. He has always believed that a solid education is the best possible solution to most of society’s challenges.

As an adult, he has been active in many nonprofit organizations, including serving on most of their Boards, and becoming the Chair, or President of many of them. Ken is most proud of his family. He met his wife, Susan (an elementary school teacher) during their senior year Christmas break. They were married ten months later, and in 2021 celebrated their forty seventh anniversary. Susan retired from teaching in 2010, and Ken retired as the principal owner and President of an insurance agency in 2015.

They are blessed with two amazing daughters. One married a San Diegan and lives in La Mesa. This is why they jumped at the opportunity to live part time in San Diego. She and her husband have three sons, ages 11, 9 and 4. Their other daughter lives in South Africa with her husband and two sons, ages 5 and 3. Her husband has a 12-year-old son living with his Mom in England: six Grandsons, scattered around the world helps keep life interesting. Susan and Ken joined TVSD in 2016 as a way to meet people and learn about this area. They really enjoy the people, and the location of Tierrasanta! Ken looks forward to increasing his engagement with TVSD to help in the continuance of its mission and to assure its longevity.

Ginny VanBenthuysen - Vice President

Ginny was raised in Montebello, CA, and came to San Diego to attend San Diego State University, where she met Thom. They were married after college and moved to Tierrasanta in 1972 before there were any gas stations or grocery stores. They raised their children here and are grateful for the friendships they have built over the years.

Upon graduating from San Diego State University, Ginny started teaching in the San Diego Unified School District.  Her first 15 years were at the elementary level (K-4) before transferring to middle school when DePortola opened in Tierrasanta. She earned an MA degree in Reading and taught 6th grade Core and 8th grade reading before becoming the school’s Staff Developer, working with the 6-8 grade teachers in Literacy. She went on to become a district resource teacher before obtaining her administrative credential. She was a Vice Principal for one year before moving to the district office as Literacy Program Manager for all Middle Schools. She felt blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with many wonderful students, teachers, and school-site administrators.

Ginny and Thom have two daughters. Cory and her husband, Reuben, live in San Diego and have two children, Kaya 20, and Curren 18. Mandy and her husband, Dave, live in Fullerton and have Nash 7, and Cade 4. She loves being with her family and helping with the grandkids. She participates in a book club and in the Prayers and Squares quilting ministry at TLC. She enjoys spending time with friends and still gets together yearly with her high school girlfriends.

In addition to teaching, Ginny was a Girl Scout leader for her girls and an active volunteer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Upon retiring she and Thom both joined the Village.  Ginny has served as co-chair for the membership and social teams. She coordinates the monthly bunko group and is a neighborhood captain. Ginny believes in the value of getting involved and establishing positive relationships and is honored to be part of the Village Board.


Rhoda Keegan - Treasurer

Rhoda grew up in Detroit, MI moving with her parents after high school to New York City. She met her future husband at the University of Michigan and they were married in 1958. Her son was born in El Paso, Texas, her daughter in New York. The children grew up in East Lansing, Michigan and Rhoda arrived in San Diego in 1981.

She met Bob Keegan in 1984 and they were married the following year.Rhoda’s San Diego career covered payroll and benefits accounting during her jobs in San Diego. Helping the village as Co-treasurer allows her to put her skills and love of accounting and numbers to good use.

James "Gunnar" Schalin - Secretary

Gunnar Schalin was born and raised near Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Later his family moved to the suburb of Arlington Heights where he attended high school. After studying Human Factors Engineering (HFE) at the University of Illinois, he received his commission in the Army through ROTC.

Following his return from Vietnam, where he was a helicopter pilot with an air cavalry troop, he joined Rockwell International in Columbus, Ohio as an HFE. Later he served there as an engineering test pilot for the HellFire missile development program. From there he moved to Teledyne Ryan in San Diego, working as a marketing representative, and later as a program manager for radar navigation systems.

Before joining the staff at Southwestern College (SWC), he held executive positions in the bio tech and software industries. At SWC his program reviews received top ratings from Department of Defense inspections. Personally, he received special leadership honors from the Small Business Administration as well as from several local organizations.

He has served in major positions on national boards. Formerly he was national president of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. He commanded the 168th Combat Aviation Group and later served as Deputy Commander of Corpus Christi Army Depot. Currently he is a Trustee for the Pi Kapp Phi Foundation. Here in San Diego, he now holds leadership positions with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Association of the United States Army, and the Military Officers Association. Recently he served as president of his Distinguished Flying Cross Society chapter, as provost marshal for his Daedalian Flight, as secretary of his homeowner’s association, and as secretary of his congregation.

He learned of the Tierrasanta Village of San Deigo in 2018 after reading an article about the Village movement in a financial magazine. He soon joined and has enjoyed increasing involvement and responsibilities. He especially enjoys events that require eating and playing bridge with other Villagers.

Sheila Weiner - Member-At-Large

Sheila spent the first twelve years of her life in Minnesota. Her family decided they wanted to move out to California and be amongst palm trees and sunshine. She finished her schooling in Los Angeles . When college came along Sheila wanted to go far enough away from home to be independent, but close enough to come home and visit. So San Diego State it was where she did her undergrad in liberal studies and earned a minor in sociology. She went on to get her teaching degree and get her masters degree in gifted education.

Her teaching career lasted 39 years, eight in elementary and 31 in middle school at de Portola in Terrasanta. She loved every minute. During these years she was a mentor teacher, served on the governance board, where decision and budgets were made, and rules were put into affect. Sheila ran the ASB (Associated student body) for De Portola Middle School.. Fundraising, activities, budgets and meetings were conducted. For twenty five years she organized, fundraised and took up to 120 kids back east to Washington DC and New York to learn about our nations history. Now that she is retired she enjoys mahjong, swimming and traveling extensively.

She belongs to the group Kiwanis where they think of creative ways to serve the needs of children. She has been actively involved in a community college class called Rediscovering San Diego. Each week a different portion of the city is explored. Over the years Sheila has learned so much about the beautiful city we live in. She loves being part of the Tierrasanta village. The sense of belonging to a community group really appeals to her. Her latest member of the family is her rescue dog Chloe. She is a five year old poodle and bichon mix. She has brought so much joy to her life, especially during the quarantine.

Laurie Brown - Member-At-Large

Laurie Firth was born in Washington, DC, the daughter of a United Methodist minister and special education elementary school teacher. She always appreciated the uniqueness of not being born in a state. Laurie's Dad was her role model. She thought he was the most gentle, loving and forgiving person she knew. Laurie tries to follow his example in her life. “An older brother, and as many pets as my mother would allow, rounded off my family.”  All her growing-up years she felt she had to behave, because so many church people were watching her.

The family moved to Southern California when Laurie was nine years old. This helped her fulfill her dream of owning a horse, and her filly, while living in the San Fernando Valley as a teen.

When she was 19, she moved to San Diego and married a United Methodist pastor! They raised two children. Laurie worked as a medical transcriptionist and office manager for a cardiology group. They lived in San Diego from 1968-1986. The family lived in Mesa, Arizona, for 18 very hot years, and Laurie worked as the office manager for general surgeons. They finally moved to Prescott to escape the heat. While there, she worked as a payroll specialist for an accounting firm. It was there that her husband died.

In 2011 Laurie went to live with her daughter in San Diego to help with the birth of Laurie's granddaughter, and so that she could live near her mother. She continued working remotely for the Prescott accounting firm. After dividing her time between Prescott and San Diego, Laurie sold her Prescott house in 2015 and made San Diego her permanent home. Laurie's son and two teen grandsons live in Tucson. She said, “I am looking forward to our visits becoming more frequent soon.”

“Besides chauffeuring my granddaughter and her friends and attending church-related activities, I am enjoying a lot of the Village activities, which include being a Stronger Memory Group facilitator, and attending yoga, stretch & balance, games, movies, chat, SNAP, and the neighborhood group get togethers. Laurie is “so thankful for the Village's support, especially during the pandemic and isolation. I appreciate safely re-starting many of our events, and I look forward to many more to come.

Mark Lasky - Member-At-Large

Mark Lasky was born in Rochester, New York, and is one of five siblings. He didn’t return to Rochester after college, however, and much of his family, including his 88 year-old Mom, have since moved to San Diego in the later years of his life story.

After college and a few professional moves later, Mark found himself in Chicago where he married, had a son and ended up staying for over thirty years. During this time Mark became an avid bicyclist and took much satisfaction in coaching youth sports, both baseball and basketball.

Fast forward to 2013 and a conversation with a brother-in-law who was a partner in a San Diego consumer goods company. They uncovered a particular need for Mark’s professional skill set. It turned out their supply chain and distribution setup was in need of some TLC. This dovetailed well with his 40+ years in logistics and transportation, both domestic and international. The discussion escalated to his moving to San Diego to be a part of that company. He ran their supply chain and logistics for about five years until retiring in 2018.

Mark revealed that, “I called it my spectacular retirement plan – I hadn’t been around family in many years and now 2 of my 4 siblings along with all of their kids were living in San Diego. A third sister also lived on the west coast and made frequent trips to San Diego. And well…after many decades of western NY and Chicago winters...who can argue with San Diego?

Mark and his partner, Denise Gregor, joined TVSD about six months ago at the recommendation of our own Cassandra Hanrahan. His first involvement before joining the board has been serving on the IT committee. He says, “I’m excited about being involved in the tech aspect of the Village.  Not only can it be a critical tool to support the membership, but it can and will play an important role in the development of new revenue streams to the organization through web advertising.” He looks forward to helping to improve our website for members and expand it as an advertising tool for the benefit of both local business partners and the Village.

Marilyn Bente - Past President

As a young child in Columbus, Ohio, Marilyn never dreamed that she would become a Californian, much less that she would be able to travel world-wide, visiting countries on six continents! Marilyn is the oldest of five children and was raised by parents who put a high value on education and work ethics. She graduated from the Ohio State University in 1969 with a degree in education, majoring in French and English. That year was a turning point in her life! She not only earned a teaching credential, but also married her college sweetheart, Tom. They moved across country, teaching contracts in hand, to start their careers with the San Diego Unified School District, which would continue for nearly forty years. In 1971, they bought their first house in Tierrasanta, and were soon blessed with a son, Christopher.

Throughout the years, Marilyn worked towards earning a Master's degree from San Diego State University, became a mentor teacher, a resource teacher, and a staff developer for the AVID program and for the California Language Project. She and her family spent two years in France with the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program where she taught English as a foreign language in French high schools. This offered them the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and to Africa. Since retiring, Marilyn shared her husband's passion for travel and they were able to visit over 50 different countries and travel throughout the United States.

In 2015, her husband, Tom, passed away, and now she fills her life with visiting her son and two grandsons in Sacramento; working on assessment projects for the U.S. Department of Education; participating in book, card, and film clubs; traveling with friends and family; and volunteering with TVSD. She has gained much personal satisfaction in leadership roles with the Village, facilitating the Lunch Bunch, serving as an original member of the Membership Committee, helping to organize the TVSD team for the Relay for Life, and leading a Village group to Paris. She is proud to be a member of the TVSD Board of Directors as the Secretary and Board Liaison for the Volunteer Core Group.

Candy Walsh - Co-Founder

Picture of Candy WalshCandy Walsh and her husband, PK, have lived in Tierrasanta/Villa Portofino since 1978. She has been retired since 2005, but as a working mother, she did experience Tierrasanta as a bedroom community. Commuting, raising a family, shopping, and chores left little time to grow neighbor relations. Candy and PK did meet other parents as they reared their son in the community and involved themselves in his school and sports activities but when their son graduated and moved away many of those parent connections became limited to brief encounters in the community. So, how did one build adult social connections in a community where the focus had been on youth activities? Since her retirement, Candy has found many other residents whose experience mirrors her own.

Candy is one of the Founders of Tierrasanta Village of San Diego, and brings a high-level of organizational skill and management competence derived from her 35-year work history that included retail, direct sales, and corporate experience.

Throughout her 20-year career with a large defense contractor, Candy held various security clearances. She organized large events, and worked at executive-level program and project management tasks. Candy interfaced with customers, employees and management at all levels.

Since 1988, she has been the coordinator of a Retiree Group composed of former company executives, engineers and program managers.

Candy’s passion is her family, friends and pets. Her interests include gardening, reading, going to garage sales, Costco, home renovation, and entertaining.