Newhall School District officials have announced NSD board President Susan Solomon was named the statewide winner of the 2019 Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award.
Distributed each year by the Association of California School Administrators, the Ferd Kiesel award is the highest honor the ACSA gives to an individual in the state. The recipient can “be anyone who has made a significant contribution to public education, teacher, legislator or community member,” according to the ACSA website.
District officials confirmed Tuesday that Marc Winger, the former NSD superintendent, is the only other local education official to win the ACSA state recognition since the award program began in 1975.
“I think it’s a reflection of the great leadership (former Superintendent Winger) provided the district, and his mentoring had an impact on my leadership and how I make decisions as a school board member,” said Solomon. “I am honored and I was stunned when I was told about it.”
In addition to weighing Solomon’s impact in public education over a wide geographical area, as well as her impact on a significant segment of public education, the award considered that she’s been working with the NSD board since being first elected in 1999.
“I am so proud to see my good friend and colleague recognized by ACSA with their most prestigious award,” said Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, who had worked with Solomon during Smith’s two terms as an NSD school board member. “It is a well-deserved honor for her after all of her years of service across a number of organizations and her advocacy at the highest levels of government on behalf of our children.”
A nominating letter, written by Superintendent Jeff Pelzel, said Solomon was being nominated due to her work in promoting parent engagement in the Newhall School District, revitalizing school PTAs at two school sites, advocating in Sacramento education committees and securing funding for the Newhall Family Theatre renovation.
“She gives more to kids than anyone I know,” said fellow NSD board member Isaiah Talley, who joined the board in 2016. “It’s truly special for her to be recognized for all that she’s doing.”
Solomon was informed she had won the award during the NSD board’s March 26 meeting, with her family and Winger present. Her official award will be presented Nov. 8, during the ACSA state award banquet in San Francisco.