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VUSD at a Glance

Framework for the Future

School leaders have agreed on a set of expectations and priorities that will help guide the district and create a more efficient organization. The Framework for the Future was unanimously approved in November 2012, after the district gathered extensive input and feedback from the community.


Our vision in Vista Unified School District is to be the model of educational excellence and innovation.


The purpose of Vista Unified School District is to inspire each and every student to persevere as critical-thinking individuals who collaborate to solve real-world problems.


  • Respect: Treating all with dignity.
  • Trust: Having confidence that every decision focuses on the best interests of all students.
  • Collaboration: Working in a collective partnership with clear two-way dialogue that builds relationships among home, school and the community.


With 29 schools serving nearly 22,000 students from preschool to 12th grade, Vista Unified School District is one of northern San Diego County’s largest educational agencies. The district stretches 39 square miles across most of Vista, a large portion of eastern Oceanside, some unincorporated areas and small slivers of Carlsbad and San Marcos. Five additional schools serving over 3,000 children operate as independent charter schools authorized by Vista Unified. Vista Unified also includes one of the county’s largest adult-education programs with approximately 20,000 students enrolled each year.



Schools include:


  • sixteen elementary schools,
  • five middle schools,
  • three comprehensive high schools,
  • two alternative high schools,
  • two schools for students with special needs,
  • one  blended learning/independent study middle/high school
  • five independent charter schools
  • one adult school.


The district serves a diverse population of students, including nearly 3,000 students in special education programs and more than 4,000 who are learning English as a second language. Enrollment has declined over the last several years from about 26,000 students in 2000 to just under 22,000 in 2017.


Student demographics include:

  • 58 percent qualify for free lunch,
  • 24 percent English learners,
  • 10 percent homeless,
  • 60 percent Hispanic,
  • 28 percent white,
  • 4 percent African American,
  • 3 percent Asian,
  • 3 percent two or more races,
  • 1 percent Filipino,
  • 1 percent Pacific islander.

Test Scores

Test scores in Vista Unified have risen each year since new state standards were adopted in 2004. The latest districtwide Academic Performance Index score is 798, just two points shy of the state goal of 800.


Vista Unified School District formed in 1936, after voters in the Vista Union School District approved a plan to create a separate high school for older students who were attending Oceanside-Carlsbad High School. Its history goes back even farther, though, with Vista’s first school built in 1887. The original elementary school district was formed in 1916 by combining that campus with two other schools in the area. 

School Board

The five-member school board oversees a budget of nearly $190 million. Each trustee is elected from a specified area within the district. Area 1 is the northern portion of the district, Area 2 is the eastern portion, Area 3 is the western portion, Area 4 is the central portion and Area 5 is the southern portion.

Current members are:

  • Rich Alderson, President, area 5;
  • Carol Herrera, Vice President, area 2;
  • Jim Gibson, Member, area 3;
  • Rosemary Smithfield, Member, area 1;
  • Cipriano Vargas, Clerk, area 4.


The district employs more than 2,000 people, including about 1,100 teachers, 1,000 support employees and 75 administrators. Most employees are represented by local chapters of the California Teachers Association and California School Employees Association.
District administrators:

  • Linda Kimble, Superintendent, LindaKimble@vistausd.org Twitter: @SupLinda (760) 726-2170 ext. 92002
  • Matthew Steitz, Interim Chief Academic Officer, MatthewSteitz@vistausd.org, (760) 726-2170 ext. 92102
  • Donna Caperton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, DonnaCaperton@vistausd.org, (760) 726-2170 ext. 92302
  • Elaine Alexandres, Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations, ElaineAlexandres@vistausd.org, (760) 726-2170 ext. 92202
  • Matt Doyle, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation, MattDoyle@vistausd.org, (760) 726-2170 ext. 92006