Principal's Welcome


August 16, 2021


The 2021-22 school year promises to be just as historically significant as the COVID-19 Pandemic year of 20-21. However, in very different ways. Looking back, our Manzanita community pulled together and survived the pandemic year...and gave our scholars a little bit of ‘normal’ during a very frightening and uncertain time. This year, however, is not about survival. Not when 55-60% of Santa Barbara County is fully vaccinated with these numbers increasing by the day. No, the 2021-22 school year focus for Manzanita scholars is all about thriving...even if the new normal is not quite what it used to be.

The fact is, none of us know if there will ever be return to ‘normal’ as we remember it. And...we have to be ok with this fact. Our children are counting on us to be ok with the new normal. And so...we shall be!

On the Manzanita campus, the new normal includes indoor face masks and classroom seating arrangements that separate scholars more than teachers would like. Each day, students must continue to wash their hands more than they’d like. But the new normal also includes, (thanks to a significant infusion of taxpayer money into the public school system), art, music, drama, robotics, engineering activities, outdoor science education, field trips, and strategic small group instruction.

Our scholars will also receive caring, empowering, social emotional support from our experienced counseling and teacher teams.

In short, for Manzanita scholars, the “new normal’ will offer a robust and improved ‘whole child ‘educational approach that will wrap its arms around your child. Thus, if we must embrace a ‘new normal,’ I feel confident Manzanita’s ‘new normal’ will be a healthy, engaging, and safe learning environment for each of our scholars. That is what a ‘thriving’ educational community looks like.

Cheers to the future-whatever it brings!



Suzanne Nicastro, Superintendent/Principal

School Mission 

Manzanita's mission is to provide an enhanced educational environment that promotes learning excellence while allowing scholars to thrive in a 21st-century world. 

Vision Statement
Kids in Art Class

Our vision shapes and develops a school culture that promotes creativity, deep development of learning independence and strengths, while providing personalized services in a results-driven environment. 

Manzanita's Academic Programs

Manzanita is a tuition-free public charter school and our curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Math and English Language Arts Standards, and is aligning to the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). 

Visual & Performing Arts, Spanish, Physical Education

Manzanita provides every child with weekly Spanish, Visual & Performing Arts, and Physical Education. 

Special Education

Our public school provides every student with the supports, plans, and resources that they need to be successful. Our team of dedicated special education professionals serve our special education students, and the entire study body.

Computer Technology

All 3rd-6th grade students have a Chromebook to use in class for writing, reading, research, and computer coding. 

Next to Nature

Our campus is one of the largest for a local elementary school. Large playgrounds and fields, tall trees, and proximity to the Los Padres forest create a special environment for learning.


An accelerated and appropriate education is provided to all students at Manzanita, and identified GATE students receive a differentiated instructional approach.

Making a

Manzanita scholars will learn essential standards from world-class teachers. Along with high expectations, students have high levels of support from dedicated professionals.

Students who do not master essential standards are given opportunities to achieve those goals during dedicated time during the day, and after school. Boot camps, aides, and instructional coaches provide our teaching team with extraordinary opportunities for support.