McCollum teaches everything from history to yoga

Behind the Whiteboard: Lisa McCollum

McCollum in front of a world map that occupies an entire wall of her classroom.

Dylan Martinez, The Freelancer

McCollum in front of a world map that occupies an entire wall of her classroom.

Dylan Martinez, News Editor

For the AP students at La Serna, Lisa McCollum was likely their first taste of college-level material in high school. Since arriving at La Serna 12 years ago, McCollum has led the implementation of the Global Issues and AP Human Geography courses, overseen a Link Crew dynasty with 4 wins and consistent placement in the Top 5, served as adviser to the club “She’s the First,” been a spirited dancer in ASB rally videos, guided her classes in outdoor yoga, and influenced countless students.

McCollum grew up in Whittier and graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara, where she met her future husband, Rick. She has two kids, Ryann and Max, both of whom attended La Serna. Her favorite book is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, and her music taste is very rooted in the ’70 and ’80s with Oingo Boingo, The Police, and the B-52’s topping the list, alongside George Ezra. For grabbing a bite to eat, McCollum’s favorite place is Walt’s Wharf in Seal Beach. Her high school teacher Jackie McCollie had the biggest impact on her as a student, eventually resulting in McCollum receiving a political science degree. Her hobbies include swimming, yoga, and cooking, and when she was little, she wanted to be an attorney.

Describe yourself in high school.

Super outgoing. I was student body president. I was super involved, I loved high school.

What is your craziest memory as a teacher?

Doing the nighttime AP review classes were funny. We used to play midget basketball, where we used to play against the midgets. At Sunny Hills, we played donkey basketball and had to ride the donkeys.

If you could teach another subject, what would it be?

Truthfully, I’d love to do P.E. I’m athletic and I like being outside, getting people physically fit.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching?

Seeing kids excited about learning; seeing them want to explore outside the class and wanting to gain further information about what I’m sharing.

What’s the last lie you told?

That I told all my freshman I wish I could’ve nominated them all for the “Be Your Best” awards.

If you could go back in time to any period of history, where would you go?

I think early 13 colonies, the development of the U.S. government. That’d be interesting.

What is your favorite word?

Fabulous. Namaste, that’s my new word now with yoga.

What did you love most about the place you grew up in?

I loved the kind of small-town feel. We had tons of family and friends and I felt very safe here.

What is your most bizarre talent?

I can do all sorts of crazy yoga positions.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I’ve never been to Europe. I’d love to go to Ireland… Europe, but specifically Ireland.

What are you most afraid of?

I want my kids to have a good, healthy, happy life, so if they didn’t reach health and happiness, that would be my biggest fear.

Describe yourself in one word.


Would you rather fly, be invisible, or have super-strength?