Arcadia Unified Holds its Spot in the Top 1% of Best School Districts in America


Arcadia Unified admin and board members

Arcadia Unified School District Board Members and administration greeting teachers and staff at the 2021 Welcome Back BBQ


Out of more than 10,700 school districts in the United States, Arcadia Unified continues to be a leader in the nation for public education, recently and once again earning a spot in the top 1% of Niche’s 2022 Best School Districts in America. 

Sharing its rankings for the 2022 Best School Districts just ahead of the new year, Niche, an influential school and neighborhood review website, has put Arcadia Unified on the “nice list,” giving Arcadia Unified an overall  “A+” grade and an “A” report card for each school in the district. 

Arcadia Unified School District’s National Niche Distinctions:

  • Arcadia Unified ranks in the Top 1% Best School Districts in America
  • Arcadia Unified ranks in the Top 1% Districts with the Best Teachers in America
  • Arcadia Unified ranks in the Top 1% Best Places to Teach in America

“Though the world turned upside down nearly two years ago, the unwavering level of instruction, dedication, and care Arcadia Unified’s world-class staff has shown to our students and families well before and throughout the most difficult times we all have faced during this pandemic is the number one reason why we earn prominent recognition like this,” said Arcadia Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall, when asked what it means to be named one of the best school districts in the country.

In addition to a national breakdown, Niche segments its rankings into state and local levels. Arcadia Unified is at the top in each. Other notable Niche nods find Arcadia Unified in the top 10 Best Places to Teach in California and the top 2 Best Places to Teach in the Los Angeles area. Correspondingly, of the more than 140 school districts in Los Angeles, Arcadia Unified made the top 10 list for Districts with the Best Teachers.

national rankings

How does Niche arrive at its rankings? According to its website, Niche undergoes a rigorous analysis of key statistics and data from thousands of schools, which includes information from the U.S. Department of Education and millions of reviews from students and parents. 

“We like the school because of the excellent teachers and opportunities for students to grow,” wrote a parent in a review for Arcadia Unified. “Teachers like my son’s history teacher, Ms. Nakatsuka, are there and always helping the students. Overall, I think the staff and teachers are excellent.”

state rankings

Ms. [Karalee Wong] Nakatsuka, mentioned in the review above, was recently named as one of Time’s “Educators Who Saved a Pandemic School Year” and has also been celebrated as a California History Teacher of the Year in 2019. Nakatsuka is just one of several award-winning Arcadia Unified teachers, some of whom include GRAMMY Museum 2019 Jane Ortner Education Award recipient, Heather Moore and EdTech Magazine’s Top 30 K-12 IT Influencers for 2021, Christine Pinto.

la rankings

In addition to making the Niche grade, Arcadia Unified has kept its commitment to developing the “whole child” by supporting more than academics. It’s placed a focus on social and emotional development, as well as helping students establish lifelong leadership skills from an early age. Since the 2018-19 school year, and though not a mandated requirement for local public school districts, Arcadia Unified has had at least one full-time school counselor at each of its schools in its dedication to student mental health and wellness. Likewise, the district also offers character education programs, such as “The Leader in Me” for students in TK-8 grade, and has adopted “restorative practices,” which are techniques geared towards building strong, trusting relationships and community in classrooms and schools. In the 2020-21 school year, Arcadia High established a Wellness Center, which has a full-time counselor, a physical space for students to go to, and is solely dedicated to fostering mental health and wellness needs.

To learn more about the Arcadia Unified School District, visit, and for additional details about Niche and its ranking system, read more at

Camino Grove Kindergartners on First Day of School
Camino Grove Kindergartners on the First Day of School