Coast Unified names new district superintendent

Vicki Schumacher, 52, to focus on core subjects, technology, arts

ktanner@thetribunenews.comMay 16, 2014 

Victoria Schumacher has been named superintendent of Coast Unified School District.

KATHE TANNER — ktanner@thetribunenews.com

Victoria “Vicki” Schumacher, an assistant superintendent at a 10,000-student school district in San Bernardino County, has been hired as the new superintendent of Coast Unified School District.

Schumacher, 52, is scheduled to start July 1 at an annual salary of $148,000 plus benefits. She succeeds Chris Adams, who left the 750-student district after five years in September to become assistant executive director of the Association of California School Administrators' Educational Services Department in Sacramento. Adams earned about $168,000 at Coast Unified.

Schumacher is assistant superintendent of educational services at Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District, where she has worked since 2010. She is one of three assistant superintendents; the others oversee business services and human resources.

“I love how intimate and friendly this community is. I was raised in a beautiful, small coastal California town, Laguna Beach, so I feel like I’m coming home," she told The Cambrian, a sister paper to The Tribune. "It’s such a friendly group. There’s a lot of joy here.”

Schumacher’s goal is to “build on the good things at Coast … support teachers in taking their next steps.” She said she emphasizes core subjects — English, science, history, math — but also stresses technology, the visual and performing arts, world languages, career technical education and athletics and “the need to be active.”

“In the 21st century, we need to be tech savvy,” she said, “and it’s really important to have more than one language.”

Schumacher was one of 28 candidates for the job. Her credentials and demeanor were two of Schumacher’s most impressive attributes, district trustee Dianne Brooke said, along with “all the programs she started” in Yucaipa.

Board President Del Clegg described Schumacher as “stellar.”

“She’s ‘outside the box.’ She thinks in larger terms. She has the vision but takes care of the details, too,” he said.

Trustees Sue Nash and Judith Hillen visited the Yucaipa district and interviewed 15 people, from principals to parents. Nash said the new superintendent’s “education background and credentials are superb,” and that the interviewees praised Schumacher’s skills at “communicating, collaborating. They said she has great character, she’s patient, she cares about the students. They’ll miss her so much.”

Nash also noted that Schumacher had instituted programs in Yucaipa that put the district far ahead of many others in implementing new state standards, such as Common Core.

Hillen said what came across in the interviews was Schumacher’s “commitment to team building and shared vision. It’s clear she’s in the habit of having open and continuing conversations. Her communications skills are incredible, which was huge for me. The bottom line is, she’s a person of integrity (who) pays strong attention to curriculum for students … those are the things I was looking for.”

Trustee Cindy Fratto described Schumacher in one word: “Professionalism, professionalism, professionalism. I was looking for someone with vision. I think she has what it takes to allow the district to grow in new ways and lift us to a new level.”

Schumacher began her career in education as a teacher, and has been an assistant principal, principal, director of assessment and assistant superintendent. She also was an assessment consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. She earned an undergraduate degree in music and a master’s degree in education from UC Berkeley, and a doctorate in education from UCLA.

“As a single mom, I understand what it’s like to support a student,” the new superintendent said, noting that her daughter is attending Harvard.

The new superintendent said one of her goals is to help as many Coast students as possible get into elite and top-level four-year colleges, but also to make sure all students get as much as possible out of their high school years so they can thrive as well-rounded adults.

How they compare

Coast Unified School District’s new superintendent is currently employed at Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District. Here’s how the districts compare:

Yucaipa-Calimesa

Yucaipa (population 51,367) and Calimesa (population 7,879) are east of San Bernardino and Riverside in San Bernardino County.

The district has 14 schools at all grade levels with a total of 10,049 students, including 928 (9.6 percent) classified as English learners, 4,418 (46.7 percent) who qualify for free or reduced price meals and an average of 28 students per class.

The district’s annual budget is about $91.5 million, or about $9,100 per student, and it has 407 teachers.

Coast Unified

Cambria has 6,032 residents; San Simeon has 462; and Cayucos 2,592.

Coast Unified has five schools at all grade levels with a total of 742 students, including 285 (37 percent) classified as English learners, 443 (60 percent) who qualify for free or reduced price meals and an average class size of 14 students.

The district’s annual district budget is about $12.3 million, or about $16,600 per student, and it has 46 teachers. Coast Unified serves grammar and middle school students from the Cambria and San Simeon areas, and its high schools serve those areas plus Cayucos.

Statewide

The California school average is 22 percent classified as English learners, 58 percent qualify for free or reduced price meals and an average class size of 25 students per class. Spending statewide per student in 2011 was about $9,100 per student.

Source: California Department of Education data for the 2012-2013 school year, U.S. Census Bureau data for 2010, and Tribune archives

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