by liz onufer | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Play Ball!

While it may be one of the more common surnames in our country, the Johnson family of 92064 stands out among Johnsons for their commitment to sports, their family ties to Poway, and their service to the school district. Throughout the years, Deron and Debi Johnson have built an extended family that reaches deep into the Poway community.

In the ’60s, Deron’s parents left Little Italy in downtown San Diego to start a cattle ranch on fifty acres in Poway, in what is today the PVRA area and where the Johnsons currently live. Deron’s father was a Major League baseball player, playing in the 1973 World Series with the Oakland A’s before becoming a hitting coach for the major leagues. Debi’s parents made the move to Poway in 1971 when her father, Dennis Devore, secured a teaching position at Poway Unified School District. Both Debi’s mom and dad retired from the school district after thirty-plus years.


Both Debi and Deron chose to follow in their family’s footsteps. Debi is a teacher at Twin Peaks Middle School, and Deron, a former minor leagues player, is a baseball hitting instructor. Over the last fifteen years, Deron has coached at Poway High School, working with close to thirty professional and college players and two players that made it to the major leagues. Even though they are both alumni of Poway High School, Debi (’87) and Deron (’82) did not meet until 1993 when they were introduced through mutual friends at the Oaks North Golf Course. They will celebrate their twentieth anniversary this spring.

Weekends for the Johnson family are spent cheering on their four children at a variety of sporting events – baseball, softball, basketball, or soccer. “Our family hobbies are sports, sports, and more sports,” Debi explained. John, 22, Rylee, 17, Deron, 15, and Jake, 8, have full support of their parents, along with a little help from their grandparents, aunts, and uncles. “It truly does take a village, and we are so lucky to have so many of our immediate family around to depend on,” Debi acknowledged.

While the Johnsons are certainly out and about in Poway, Debi explained another reason you may have met them. “There’s six degrees or less of Johnsons because you can’t go anywhere without someone knowing a member of our huge extended family,” she laughed.

Parents: Debi DeVore Johnson and Deron Johnson
Children: John (22, graduate from Wheaton University); Rylee (17, 12th grade at Poway High School); Deron (15, 9th grade at Poway High School); Jake (8, 2nd grade at Tierra Bonita Elementary School)
Community: Poway Valley/Country Creek Neighborhood
Parents’ Hometowns: Poway
Parents’ Occupations: Debi – teacher at Twin Peaks Middle School; Deron – baseball and softball hitting instructor
Pet: Tanner – yellow labrador
Favorite Place to Visit in 92064: We love to have family dinner night at the Brigantine. Great tacos and appetizers!