Meet the candidates for the Santa Clarita Valley school district governing boards

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Students line up outside their classrooms on the first day of school at Newhall Elementary School in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal 081519
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Editor’s note: The information for this article was provided by either the candidates’ filing details or campaign websites, if available. School district governing board positions are non-partisan offices and a candidate’s party affiliation is not listed.

The candidates for the five Santa Clarita Valley governing school boards were finalized this month, as well as the candidacies for Santa Clarita’s only community college district.

Within the Santa Clarita Valley, 53 schools teach tens of thousands of K-12 students, with each being led by an elected board of five members who represent different regions within that school district.

The Santa Clarita Community College District also has a five-member board, which represents the approximately 32,000 students who visit either the Valencia or Canyon Country campuses each year. 

The governing boards of each district are entrusted with the authority to make critical decisions about each district’s approach to providing services to their students, from budget to facility to curriculum. 

The following is a list of candidates, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office, for the five K-12 and the Santa Clarita Community College District: 

Santa Clarita Community College District – 3 open seats 

  • Tony Watson, a businessman and alumni of College of the Canyons (Trustee Area No. 2). 
  • Edel Alonso, the incumbent candidate who has served on the board since November 2016 (Trustee Area No. 2). 
  • Sebastian Cazares, a local student advocate and graduate of College of the Canyons (Trustee Area No. 3). 
  • Fred Arnold, a local finance business advisor and current Valencia resident (Trustee Area No. 3). 
  • Michele Jenkins, the incumbent candidate who has served as an elected board member since 1984 (Trustee Area No. 4). 
  • Jerry Danielsen, a local businessman and COC/Cal Arts alumnus (Trustee Area No. 4). 

William S. Hart Union High School District – (2 open seats)

  • Alyssa Williams, a Castaic mother and teacher (Trustee Area No. 1). 
  • Linda Storli, the incumbent board president, Realtor and former teacher at Canyon High School (Trustee Area No. 1). 
  • Gordon Kirkpatrick, a Valencia-based parent, business owner and educator (Trustee Area No. 1). 
  • James Webb, a former English teacher within the district and current 7th grade parent of a Hart district student (Trustee Area No. 4). 
  • Steve Sturgeon, incumbent candidate and long-time board member, having served previously as board president (Trustee Area No. 4).

Saugus Union School District – 2 open seats

  • Christian Gadbois, a local firefighter paramedic, father of a Saugus Union students and resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1976 (Trustee Area No. 3). 
  • Katherine Cooper, a local CPA, mother and businesswoman, and 25-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley (Trustee Area No. 3). 
  • Matthew Watson, a career educator and Saugus resident since 1980 (Trustee Area No. 4). 
  • Sage Rafferty, a retired army officer, a five-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley (Trustee Area No. 4). 

Newhall School District – 2 open seats 

  • Isaiah Talley, the incumbent candidate who was appointed to the Newhall School District governing board on Sept 6, 2016 (Trustee Area No. 4). 
  • Sue Solomon, incumbent board president and longest-serving member currently on the Newhall School District. Solomon has served on the board since 1999(Trustee Area No. 5). 

Sulphur Springs Union School District  – 3 open seats

  • Rochelle “Shelley” Weinstein, the incumbent candidate who has served on the board since 2003 and currently works at College of the Canyons (Trustee Area No. 1).  
  • Denis DeFigueiredo, the incumbent candidate whose family has lived in Canyon Country since 1991. He is an information technology professional and has served as the board’s president in years past (Trustee Area No. 2). 
  • Paola Jellings, a Canyon Country mother who was appointed to the seat during the summer of this year (Trustee Area No. 3; Unexpired term ending Dec. 9, 2022). 

Castaic Union School District – 2 open seats

  • Fred Malcomb, the incumbent candidate and current president of the Castaic Union School District board. Malcomb works as an educator in the Antelope Valley. 
  • Janene Maxon, the recently retired assistant superintendent of educational services for the Castaic Union School District. Maxon had served within the district for 32 years, working as both a teacher and an administrator.

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