Three new distinguished leaders will be joining the governing board of the central coast’s leading law school, as the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law announce the addition of three new members to their Board of Trustees on Friday.
An accredited non-profit institution, The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law (COL) was founded in 1969 to expand opportunities and broaden access to legal education. Today, COL remains the region’s oldest and largest independent law school and gives students of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to pursue careers in law or legal related fields. It’s faculty includes practicing attorneys, judges, public servants, and leaders in business and non-profit organizations.
The three new members elected to the COL’s Board of Trustees announced during Friday’s press release were Arturo “Art” Hernandez, Charlita Shelton and Casey Summar.
“What was already a strong board has become even stronger, connected, and more distinguished,” COL Board Chair Jana Johnston said in a statement. “Art’s higher education experience will help us advance our mission of access and opportunity in Ventura, and Casey’s non-profit expertise and passion for legal education will do the same in Santa Barbara. And then we have Charlita, whose work in diversity and higher education leadership will be invaluable. I am honored to serve with them.”
With a well-established career in education governance, Mr. Hernandez has served as Board of the Rio Elementary School District, the Oxnard Union High School District and was also elected to the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) Board of Trustees for Area 5 representing Oxnard.
A Marine Corps Veteran, Ms. Shelton is currently serving the president’s office at Gonzaga University to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In the past, she has held roles as president and chief diversity office at the University of the Rockies and as executive director of the Dallas Nursing Institute.
The release states Ms. Shelton is also “an international lecturer on organizational diversity/equity and women in leadership roles, and an accomplished research scholar who led research efforts to determine how best to retain Black and Latinx students and designed diversity initiatives for the world’s largest private educational institution for working adults.”
As a proven leader as a higher education executive and diversity officer, Ms. Shelton’s recognitions include the Innovations in Diversity Award and Diversity Leader Award from Profile in Diversity Journal and the Champion of Diversity Award from Diversity Business.
Licensed to practice law in both California and Tennessee, Ms. Summar received her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and her B.F.A. from Belmont University. In 2005, she founded the Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, which later became the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, where she advised the boards and staff of more than 400 non-profits.
Having recently finished a term on the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Council, in the past Ms. Summar has served as Chair of the Nashville Arts Coalition, Chair of the American Bar Association Entertainment & Sports Industries Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Division, and Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Entertainment & Sports Law Section.
Currently, Ms. Summar is a partner with The Law Firm for Nonprofits as well as an adjunct professor of law at Vanderbilt University. Now a Santa Barbara resident, she also serves as chair of the board of the Carpinteria Arts Center and secretary of the board of the Lois & Walter Capps Project.
According to COL’s press release, “The newest additions join a diverse board of professionals representing numerous disciplines and experiences.”
Ms. Johnston is a partner with Mullen & Henzell. Other trustee attorneys include Farfalla Borah (J.D. ’93), Judge Michele Castillo, Betty Jeppesen (J.D. ’80), and Catherine Swysen (J.D. ‘94).
Trustees from higher education include: Dr. Michael Horowitz, president of TCS Education System; Dr. Bernie Luskin, president and CEO of Luskin International and past chancellor of the Ventura Co. Community County District; Stacey Lydon, director of advancement for Student Affairs, UCSB; Dr. Matthew Nehmer, COL president; and Dr. Richard Winn, past president of the WSCUC Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
COL is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the Juris Doctor program is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) of the State Bar of California. COL offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.), a Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) program and as of Fall 2018, it became the first accredited law school in California to offer a hybrid J.D. degree.