New Superintendent Announced!



June 14, 2016

Santa Barbara Unified Welcomes New Superintendent

The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education is happy to report that the search for a new superintendent for the Santa Barbara Unified School District has come to a successful conclusion. As such, the district’s five-member board of education is delighted to announce the selection of Mr. Cary Matsuoka to lead the district beginning July 1, 2016.

“I am both honored and excited to serve as the next superintendent of Santa Barbara Unified School District. This is a district with a 150-year history—one filled with a great sense of community, pride, and trust in its local schools. I am committed to the success of every student, including the Latino students who make up the majority of our district.  I look forward to working with the teachers, support staff, and leaders as we prepare students for a dynamic and ever-changing future.”

Superintendent Matsuoka was among the 39 applicants from across the country considered for the position. The board chose him as its top candidate because of his focus and proven success in improving student achievement, fostering innovative ways of addressing gaps in student achievement, experience collaborating and working with higher education, as well as his diversity of experience as an educator.

“We are excited that Cary Matsuoka has agreed to join our district. We are confident that he will continue to advance all that has made this district a great place for student learning and look forward to him leading this district as we strive to better the future of our students. We ask that the district’s staff, parents and community join us in welcoming him as our new superintendent,” said Board of Education President Pedro Paz.

Superintendent Matsuoka has been a lifelong learner in both formal and informal settings. He studied nutrition science at UC Davis and also received his teaching credential there.  He earned his master’s degree in educational administration from San Jose State University. Along the way, he taught himself computer science and cabinetmaking, mostly by tinkering and learning-by-doing. He has a passion and talent for design and has applied those skills to the design of creative learning spaces in schools and the structure of school organizational systems.

In addition, Superintendent Matsuoka is a lifelong educator. He spent 17 years as a teacher, mostly in a high school setting and 19 years in administrative leadership roles. He taught chemistry, physics, and AP computer science at Saratoga High School in the Silicon Valley area. After he went into administration, he served as a high school assistant principal, district coordinator, high school principal, and finally superintendent. He now has ten years of experience as a superintendent in two districts: Los Gatos-Saratoga High School District and Milpitas Unified School District.

Cary Matsuoka has been married to his wife, Polly, for 36 years. In 1980 they started their life together with a wedding in Santa Barbara. Polly Matsuoka is a product of local schools and a proud Dos Pueblos High School alumna. They have three adult sons, all graduates of San Jose Unified School District and UCLA. Daniel is a youth pastor in San Jose, Andrew works for Google in New York, and Stephen will be entering medical school soon.

Superintendent Matsuoka will receive a $260,164 annual base salary, which will be equal to that of the district’s retiring superintendent.

Santa Barbara Unified School District is the second largest school district in Santa Barbara County. In school year 2015-2016, the district’s K-12 enrollment was 15,453, approximately 1,000 students less than north county’s Santa Maria-Bonita School District.

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