Governing Board Members
Mr. Ernesto Smith
Governing Board President
Trustee Area 3
Current Term: 2022 - 2026
Ernesto Smith is dedicated to the service to his community and the education of children. He volunteers in his children’s classes regularly, serves as his school's site council chair, a former District Safety Committee member, a former Measure E Citizen Oversight Committee member, a volunteer youth basketball coach, a volunteer youth soccer coach and a volunteer youth soccer referee.
Ernesto believes that children are our future, and the impact that education has on a person’s life is massive. He believes it decides where you live, who your friends are, how eloquently you communicate, among a host of other life influences. Ernesto has a laser focus on the children of the district and their educational success. He has a strong belief that by “paying it forward” to his community it will ensure the future success of its youth and the community as a whole. Ernesto and his wife, Sandra, have lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 2005. They have three children, with 2 currently in the Newhall School District, and one child set to enter the district next year.
Ernesto has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Mathematics from California State University Northridge (CSUN). He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Woodbury University. He works in local government as an Information Technology Manager.
Mr. Isaiah Talley
Governing Board Clerk
Trustee Area 4
Current Term: 2020 - 2024
Mr. Isaiah Talley was first appointed to the Newhall School Board on September 6, 2016, and re-elected for a second term on November 3, 2020. Mr. Talley chose to apply for the vacated seat in 2016 because as the parent of a toddler preparing to attend public school, Mr. Talley wanted a firsthand view of what was being offered in the Newhall School District, and how he could contribute to the system to further improve and grow the instructional program, safety, and technology of the Newhall Schools.
Isaiah is an entrepreneur owning two local businesses, bringing his knowledge of finances, technology, and security to further inform the board discussions and decisions.
Mr. Talley enjoys international food, travel, reading, and spending time with his family. He especially enjoys introducing new activities to his children and teaching them about life around the world.
Mrs. Suzan T. Solomon
Governing Board Clerk Pro Tem
Trustee Area 5
Current Term: 2020 - 2024
Send EmailSuzan Solomon has lived in the Newhall School District Community since 1986. She moved to the area with her husband Eskel because of the small town feeling of Santa Clarita, and its highly acclaimed school districts. Not only have they found Santa Clarita a wonderful place to raise a family, which they did, but a great place where they could become involved and become of service to others. Suzan’s children, Samantha and Spencer attended Old Orchard Elementary School. Graduates from Hart High School, they both have chosen careers in public service. Samantha is a credentialed teacher-librarian in the Oakland School District and Spencer is a park ranger for the National Park Service.
Suzan believes that the greatest impact we can have on people’s lives is being active at the local level. Suzan believes every child deserves and should have access to the highest quality education, and that every parent, caregiver, educator, and community member have a voice in education policy, programs, and community issues that maximizes the learning opportunities for all students and supports professional development for teachers, administrators and support staff.
Mrs. Solomon was first elected to the Newhall School Board in 1999 and has served multiple times as school board president. She has been involved in the PTA since 1992 and has served at local, state and national levels of PTA. Suzan is involved in the Santa Clarita Valley Trustees Association where she has served as president. She serves on the Los Angeles County School District Organization Committee where she has served as chairperson, and has been involved with the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association where she has also served as president.
Suzan Solomon has been recognized locally for her public service to Santa Clarita’s education community. In 2007 she received the award for Woman of the Year in the Fifth Supervisorial District in Los Angeles County, and twice received the Signal’s 51 Most Influential People recognition.
Suzan’s involvement and leadership has garnered her the California State PTA’s highest recognition, the Golden Oak Award and the National PTA Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2010 Suzan was selected to serve on the transition team for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. She served on various committees for Superintendent Torlakson throughout his tenure. Most notably she served on the task force that created A Blueprint for Great Schools. Suzan is responsible for the section on Family Engagement.
In 2019, the Association of California School Administrators recognized Suzan Solomon with its highest honor that can be presented to an individual, the Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award. Suzan received this statewide honor for her significant contribution to public education and its impact on significant segments of public education.
Suzan is a life-long, champion advocate for arts education. She has been and continues to be committed to preserving and expanding Newhall’s music education and visual arts programs. Mrs. Solomon was instrumental in creating the Newhall School District’s Arts Education Master Plan. Since 1997, Suzan has been the consistent voice that has led to Measure E that supported the renovation of the Newhall Elementary School Auditorium which is now known as the Newhall Family Theatre. The Newhall Family Theatre is a popular performing arts venue for local artists and students across the Newhall School District. Suzan is a co-founder for the Raise the Curtain Foundation which supports the Newhall Family Theatre.
Suzan earned a Masters in Theatre Arts from Cal State Los Angeles. She grew up in Hollywood, CA. She loves the theater and has taught after school theater programs for children. She and her husband love traveling and spending time with their children, Spencer and Samantha.
“I love the work I do on behalf of the students, families, educators, and all staff! I love public education! I am humbled by the continued trust in me from our community. I serve proudly with dignity, integrity, transparency, and with all of my heart.”
Mrs. Rachelle Haddoak
Governing Board Member
Trustee Area 2
Current Term: 2022 - 2026
Send EmailRachelle Haddoak grew up in Santa Clarita and is a proud product of our local public schools. From a young age, Rachelle knew she wanted to be a teacher; from then on, her passion for education has only grown.
After earning her bachelor's degree in Art Education and teaching credential from Cal Poly Humboldt, Rachelle began her teaching career in the San Fernando Valley before continuing on to the William S. Hart School District where she currently teaches ceramics. As an arts educator, Rachelle Haddoak knows firsthand the transformative power of a holistic education that provides students with ample opportunities to explore their creativity and imagination. She hopes to continue the work that the Newhall School District has done to implement a rich, vibrant arts program. She also seeks to deepen the relationships between our schools and the community, as she believes that it truly takes a village to create well-rounded, inspired students with a love for learning.
Rachelle brings to the Board the perspective of someone who is seeing firsthand what is going on in schools, and guidance as to what the Newhall School District can continue to do to ensure students are prepared for success in Junior High, High School, and beyond. Students are at the forefront of her mind for every decision she makes, as she knows how imperative the formative elementary years are to the rest of a child’s life.
Ms. Donna Robert
Governing Board Member
Trustee Area 1
Current Term: 2022 - 2026
Donna Robert is a well-rounded, proven educator whose life-long goal is to make an impact that will improve the strategies for educating our students. She knows first-hand that teachers are the gateway for meeting the students where they are and helping them get to where we want them to be. Her 20 plus years of experience as a teacher gives her first-hand knowledge of how board decisions ultimately affect students. Additionally, her 20 plus years in accounting and financial services further enhances her ability to do a cost benefit analysis when making budget decisions. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in General Studies from USC, a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Cal State University Los Angeles (CSULA), and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California (USC).
Her philosophy is that education should be more about APPLICATION of the skills students are being taught. She believes children are more likely to grasp concepts better when they apply their skills in meaningful ways.
Donna is fluent in Spanish and used her language skills as an elementary school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where she also served as a Mentor Teacher as well as a Title I Coordinator for a part of that time. She was also a Master Teacher for CSULA, giving guidance to student teachers in training. Additionally, she taught secondary mathematics for LAUSD before transitioning to the William S. Hart District where she has been serving as a substitute teacher for over a decade. She currently teaches finance at the College of the Canyons, which gives her a broad continuum of teaching experience. She holds three teaching credentials -Multiple Subject K-12, Mathematics, and Business, and continuously strives to improve her own skills and assess her impact on educating children.
Donna has a good rapport with all members of the community and a way of making everyone feel welcome and comfortable when interacting with her. Her love of children motivates her to volunteer her skills as much as possible. Her current and prior community involvement activities include PTA/PTO membership/involvement during the entire time her daughter attended school in the Newhall district (first through 6th grade). She served on the District Advisory Council when her daughter attended school in the Hart school district. She has been continuously involved with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), since her daughter was four years old - serving as a board member (treasurer, fundraiser/sponsorship coordinator), soccer coach, referee, and referee council member. She serves as a lecturer at her church, and volunteers her skills as a math tutor at the SCV Community Center. In years past she was a Girl Scout Troop leader, and volunteer at the Newhall senior center, among other things