Eric Chagala is the founding principal of the Vista Innovation & Design Academy (VIDA), which serves a diverse student population in Grades 6-8. He believes that all kids need a place to matter, that schools have souls and those souls need to be nurtured, and that our actions say what we believe about kids.
Eric’s belief in Design Thinking for education is deeply rooted in his dissertation that focused on the critical resiliency of high achieving Latino youth. This research solidified the knowledge (not just belief) that schools have the power to either defeat or to perpetuate the status-quo of a neighborhood.
Eric began his career with VUSD as a history teacher at Rancho Buena Vista High School and then as an assistant principal at Vista High School. These years of experience inspired him to join the middle school ranks, because he realized how critical it is to succeed in middle school.
When not at school or working on school business, Eric enjoys spending time with his family. Eric’s wife teaches literature and writing at the university level, and he has two elementary-aged daughters. Eric also enjoys golfing poorly and developing his own personal creativity. Follow Eric’s feed on Twitter: @drchagala