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 Namesake: John C. Vanderburg

John Vanderburg was born in Texas in 1933. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Austin State College and began teaching in Longview, Texas, where he met his future wife. The two married and started a life together.


Mr. and Mrs. Vanderburg moved to Clark County in 1968, and John taught at Gibson Middle School. From there, he transferred to Orr Middle School and later became assistant principal. In 1979, he became assistant principal at Bonanza High School.

In 1981, Mr. Vanderburg was promoted to principal of Guinn Middle School. While there, he helped the school receive one of the nation’s highest educational honors – President Reagan’s School of Excellence Award! This was the first time a school in Clark County ever received that honor. During his time in Clark County, Vanderburg was affiliated with organizations such as the Nevada State Education Association, the National Education Association, and Phi Delta Kappa.


John Vanderburg died in 1983, when he was only 50 years old.


In 1989, the school naming committee for the Clark County School District looked into naming a school after Mr. Vanderburg. Wayne Tanaka, a retired educator and principal, said in a letter to the committee, “Many administrators, like me, can trace our skills to the capable training that John gave us.” He went on to say, “John earned the respect of students, parents, teachers and other administrators through his leadership and his humanistic way of handling problems. I personally tried to emulate this humanism in my administrative style.”


The dedication ceremony for his school, at 2040 Desert Shadow Trail, took place February 20, 1997. John’s wife, Lou Vanderburg, and school officials such as Dr. Carolyn Reedom, Principal at Vanderburg, spoke on his behalf. “His dedication to education lives on through the achievements the school has made, receiving top ranks in science, math and language arts,” Dr. Reedom stated. John C. Vanderburg Elementary School is home to the Rainforest Biosphere, a 3,200 square foot indoor science facility that houses live animals, artifacts and laboratories.


Mrs. Vanderburg was excited when her husband’s school received the National Blue Ribbon Award of Academic Excellence in 2012. “He would be extremely proud to see his school,” she said.

Be Kind. Work Hard. Be a  Leader.

We are pleased to announce that our school has achieved a "Five Star" ranking under CCSD's School Performance Framework, the highest ranking a school can earn. Our "Five Star" designation means the majority of our students are showing academic growth compared to the last school year; that the vast majority of students are meeting and/or exceeding standards on state tests; and that we are effective in closing achievement gaps between all students - regardless of their individual educational needs.


Additionally, our designation means that our school is making tremendous strides in fostering a positive learning environment for all students - this includes solid attendance, educational equity for students, and parental involvement.


Our goal is to not just maintain our current performance level, but to continue to make refinements and improvements in how we educate our students. There is always room to grow!


More information about the School Performance Framework that determines a school's ranking can be found at CCSD School Performance Framework website.

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