Governing Board Members
Trustee Area 1
Governing Board President
Current Term: 2018 - 2022
Brian Walters has served on the Newhall School Governing Board since 2009. Brian’s stated desire is to “defend all things good” in the District. As the son, son-in-law and grandson of teachers, he is a dedicated advocate of teachers and the teaching profession. He is also a consistent advocate of children, parents, and administrators.
Graduating magna cum laude, Mr. Walters was the first-ever graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in political science and Master of Public Administration joint degree at The George Washington University in 2000. He is a 2003 graduate of the UCLA School of Law, where he served as the Chief Articles Editor for the UCLA Journal of Law & Technology and on the Moot Court Honors Program Executive Board.
While in law school, Brian worked in the legal department of a Fortune 200 company. Upon graduating, he was an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP representing Fortune 100 companies and other plaintiffs and defendants in commercial and general business litigation, antitrust, and unfair competition, class actions, regulatory and securities actions, higher education and intellectual property disputes. His clients included industry leaders in technology, retail, entertainment, insurance, telecommunications, transportation, accounting, energy and healthcare. He was also part of a legal team representing a pro bono client that helped obtain a rarely granted writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court that eventually led to a Supreme Court victory.
Mr. Walters left Gibson Dunn to become the General Counsel and top-3 executive for a publicly-traded company. For more than a decade, he served as in-house general counsel advising companies in diverse industries, including real estate, private equity, healthcare, logistics, consumer goods and fintech. He is now a partner at the law firm of Poole, Shaffery & Koegle, LLP where he specializes in innovative legal strategy and creative problem solving on behalf of clients. His practice includes civil litigation and appeals, alternative dispute resolution, insurance coverage, employment, transactional, regulatory, healthcare, intellectual property, religious organizations and religious freedom, real estate, environmental and land use, corporate governance, privacy and cybersecurity, entertainment, constitutional law, higher education and general counsel services.
He is the co-founder of the William S. Hart District (WiSH) Education Foundation (leading the legal team that set up the organization’s 501(c)(3)), also serving two terms as Board Chairman. He is a founding member of the ESCAPE Theatre Advisory Board and also serves on the Board of Directors of the West Ranch Lacrosse Foundation. In total, he has served on the management team of more than a dozen organizations. He worked on Capitol Hill for both his Congressman and Senator. He also coached youth basketball, baseball, flag football and soccer. Mr. Walters is conversant in Spanish.
Mr. Walters is an Eagle Scout and was recognized in 2010 by the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal and SCV Jaycees as a 40 Under Forty Honoree for exemplary professional and community contributions. In 2014, the California State Assembly honored Mr. Walters for his professional work and civic and community service.
Drawn in part by the exceptional quality of the public education, Brian and his wife, Amelia, have resided in the Santa Clarita Valley since 2003. They have five children, three of whom have already gone through the Newhall School District, one who is currently a student at Pico Canyon Elementary and their youngest a future NSD student. Brian served for several years on the Executive Board of the Pico Canyon PTA and as the Team Co-Captain for Pico Canyon All Pro Dads.
Trustee Area 2
Governing Board Clerk
Current Term: 2018 - 2022
Elected in 2018, Donna Rose brings years of experience as a school business leader to the board and District. A retired Assistant Superintendent of Business Services (Santa Paula Unified School District) she ran for office to use her knowledge of school business for the good of the students, staff and community of the Newhall School District. She has lived in Santa Clarita since 1986 with her husband Hugh, and their two children attended Old Orchard Elementary School and Wiley Canyon Elementary School. She served as a volunteer in classrooms, and as the PTA Treasurer for Old Orchard Elementary PTA, in addition to volunteering in other local organizations. From 2003 to 2011 she worked for the Newhall School District in the Business department.
As a certified Chief Business Official for K-12 schools she has knowledge in school finance, facilities management, school site safety, negotiations, benefit plans, technology plans, master facilities plan, student nutrition, school construction and many other areas. Supporting the Superintendent, staff, and parents in providing excellent programs, while staying fiscally responsible is her top goal. She will promote equity, efforts to target instruction to close gaps, and will stay vigilant in keeping our school campuses secure and well maintained.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a Master of Business Administration from California State University Northridge (CSUN), and a certificate in School Business Management from the University of Southern California (USC). She has been certified as a Chief School Business Official (CBO) (2011, re-certified 2016) by the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO).
Trustee Area 3
Governing Board Member
Current Term: 2018 - 2022
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.
Trustee Area 5
Governing Board Member
Current Term: 2020-2024Suzan 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.”
Trustee Area 4
Governing Board Member
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. Mr. Talley’s children currently attend Newhall Elementary and preschool.
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.