Karla was born to parents Dolores and Carl Simmons on March 27, 1954 in Las Vegas, NV. She grew up as the eldest of three and attended Merced High School. In 1979, she married Stanley Shaeffer in Chowchilla, CA.
Karla originally went to school to study chemistry. After the birth of her daughter she found a passion for teaching and went back to school to get a degree in fine arts and her teaching credential. Karla taught several different classes after her credential but found her calling for High School Science and Art.. She retired from Williams High School due to health in 2008.
Karla is survived by her daughter, Krystal Santiago; her grandsons, Marcus and Christopher; her sister, Tana Simmons; her brother Randy Simmons. She is preceded in death by her husband, Stanley Shaeffer; and her parents, Carl and Dolores.
A memorial service is scheduled for July 3 at 11am at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Teach For America.