Having led a successful career of over 35 years as a schoolteacher, Paula R. Caplinger garnered a laudable reputation as a teacher on behalf of the Sacramento City Unified School District. Hired by the district in 1973 as a traveling instrumental music teacher, she later began teaching full time in 1974 and maintained activity in this role until her retirement in 2008. During the course of her tenure, Ms. Caplinger co-coordinated the Pacific Telesis Shared Decision Making Project at Will C. Wood Middle School and was a member of the restructuring committee of the Sacramento City Unified School District.
A talented musician, Ms. Caplinger played the trumpet for the Sacramento Valley Wind Ensemble between 1986 and 1991. She also played the trumpet and the horn for the American River College Community Band, and was a member of the Musicians Union Local 12, the Sacramento Symphony and the Sacramento Music Circus. Furthermore, Ms. Caplinger played backup in a band with Smokey Robinson and played at the music circus along such famous stars as Liberace. She has been playing trumpet with the Jabberwocky Good Time Band in Oregon since 2018.
Ms. Caplinger attended California State University, Sacramento, where she achieved a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. While she was a student at City College, she was a member of the Western States Junior College Honor Band. She is a certificated elementary teacher in the State of California. Ms. Caplinger notably received five music scholarships to attend college.
Aligned with several professional organizations relative to education, Ms. Caplinger is a member and delegate of the National Education Association. She has served in a variety of capacities for the California Teachers Association, and she was a member of the Music Educators National Conference and the Sacramento City Teachers Association. Likewise, Ms. Caplinger is a member and former policy board member of the Consumer Federation of California, and she has served as a commissioner of the California Teacher Competency Panel.
In 1986, the Sacramento City Teachers Association honored Ms. Caplinger with a 1986 Golden Apple Award. A celebrated Marquis listee, she has been included in several editions of Who’s Who among American Teachers, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the West and Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America. She also received the We Honor Ours (W.H.O.) Award in 1998. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Ms. Caplinger enjoys such avocations as raising and releasing monarch butterflies, assembling jigsaw puzzles, playing mahjong, gardening and supporting community musical theater.
When she first started in union business, Ms. Caplinger got started because of her roommate, who took her to a teacher’s meeting at the school board. She was appalled at the attitude the school board had towards the teachers, so she got involved in organizing. She organized chapters and was politically active, along with her roommate. The other mentor who motivated and inspired Ms. Caplinger was her mother Evelyn Ruth, who taught her how to play the trumpet and gave her a love for music. To others hoping to pursue a similar field, she advises them to never quit, and do the best they can and they will find rewards as the years go on.