Appointment process fills seat vacated my J. Michael McGrath.
The Newhall School District Governing Board will be whole when sworn in December 8th. The November election inadvertently left the Board one seat short when residents reelected J. Michael McGrath despite the fact that he dropped out of the race late into the election.
Phil Ellis and Christy Smith won their respective seats on the board, however McGrath resigned his seat and the current board was charged with filling the vacancy by an appointment process.
After interviewing nine applicants and sorting through a three-way tie, the Board eventually appointed Brian Walters to the seat.
Walters is the parent of students and Pico Canyon and Wiley Canyon Elementary schools. According to the District, the board was impressed by Walters' enthusiasm, his background as an attorney, and the fact that he has children in the district.
The newest Board member says that new challenges prompted him to throw his hat into the ring.
"I'm a parent, and my wife is the Executive Vice President of the PTA over at Pico Canyon and we were seeing how much of the budget costs were associated with what some people would call ‘extra curricular' activities...and how the District could no longer fund them, Walters said. "Those costs were being pushed on to the parent/teachers associations, and it was clear that the fiscal crisis was hitting home."
The pieces came together for Walters when he was given a second chance to apply for the vacant Board seat.
"In the analysis [of the November election] I attended the Pico Canyon candidate forum," he said. "As I was listening to the candidates, it occurred to me that perhaps I was on the wrong side of the forum. Of course at that point there was no chance to run, but when the opportunity came up I decided that this might be my chance to make a difference."
Walters will join newly elected Smith and Ellis alongside current board members Mike Shapiro and Suzan Soloman.
"We have two veterans on the Board," Walters said. "Thankfully we have them to lead the way and help get Kristy, Phil and I settled in."