Jun 25, 2024

Governor Newsom announces appointments 6.25.24

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

Jill Barnes, of Culver City, has been appointed Assistant Director and Superintendent of the California Specialized Training Institute at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Barnes has been Administrator of Emergency Management at the Los Angeles Unified School District Office of Emergency Management since 2010. She held several positions at the Los Angeles Unified School District Marina del Rey Middle School from 2003 to 2010, including Bridge Coordinator, Dean of Discipline, Testing Coordinator, Mentor and Classroom Teacher. Barnes was a Police Officer at the Los Angeles Police Department West Valley Division in 2003. She was a Fire Public Information/Education Officer at the Santa Monica Fire Department from 2001 to 2003. Barnes was a Mentor and Classroom Teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District from 1989 to 2000. She is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers, California Emergency Services Association and the Association of California School Administrators. Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from California State University, Northridge, a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine, a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Defense and Security from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $156, 276. Barnes is a Democrat.

Brittany Comegna, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the State Rehabilitation Council. Comegna has been Founder and CEO of Deaf and Disability Mediation Services since 2024. She was an Education Coordinator for the Rochester Institute of Technology from 2023 to 2024, where she held several positions from 2013 to 2023, including Director, Coordinator and Admissions Counselor. She is a member of the Southern California Mediation Association and California Hands and Voices. Comegna earned a Master of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema and Television Arts from California State University, Northridge. She is Deaf and her native language is American Sign Language. Comegna receives Department of Rehabilitation services. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Comegna is registered without party preference.

Lupe Rodriguez, of Laguna Hills, has been appointed to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. Rodriguez has been Associate Director of Career Technical Education at Elite Academic Academy since 2023, and a Career Technical Education 101 Teacher Preparation Instructor for the Orange County Department of Education since 2021. She was a Health Science and Medical Technology Industry Sector Mentor for the Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program from 2023 to 2024. She held several positions at the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program from 2003 to 2023, including Patient Care Pathway Instructor, Instructional Programs Manager, Teacher on Special Assignment and Patient Care Pathway Instructor. Rodriguez earned a Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development and Family Studies from American Public University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Rodriguez is a Democrat.

Karen Horne, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the California Film Commission. Horne was Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Warner Bros. Discovery from 2020 to 2023. She was Senior Vice President of Talent Development and Inclusion for NBCUniversal from 2009 to 2019. Horne was Director of Creative Affairs for IDT Entertainment from 2005 to 2006. She was an Executive Consultant for Nickelodeon from 2000 to 2005. Horne was Director of Writer Development and Special Projects for the Walt Disney Company from 1996 to 2000. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Montclair State University School of Communication and Media, the University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and the Alliance of Women Directors. Horne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Horne is a Democrat.

Kathy Le Backes, of View Park-Windsor Hills, has been appointed to the California Film Commission. Le Backes has been Director of RISE Content Advisement for The Walt Disney Studios since 2022. She was Senior Director of Equity and Inclusion for WarnerMedia from 2020 to 2022. Le Backes was Vice President of Development and Research for Wise Entertainment from 2014 to 2020. She was Digital Campaign Manager for the Entertainment Industry Foundation from 2011 to 2014. Le Backes was a Program Manager for the University of California Annenberg Norman Lear Center from 2008 to 2011, where she was Program Coordinator from 2006 to 2008. She was a Research Associate for the Chiron Corporation from 2002 to 2004. Le Backes is a member of the Advisory Board for the Asia Society Southern California. She earned a Master of Public Health degree in Health Promotion from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Le Backes is a Democrat.

Holly J. Mitchell, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the California Film Commission. Mitchell has served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors since 2020. She served as a Senator in the California State Senate from 2013 to 2020 and as an Assemblymember in the California State Assembly from 2010 to 2013. Mitchell was Chief Executive Officer of Crystal Stairs from 2001 to 2010. She was a Legislative Advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty from 1998 to 2001. Mitchell was Executive Director of the California Black Women’s Health Project from 1994 to 1998. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and the California Science Center Foundation Board of Trustees. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Mitchell is a Democrat.

Brian Brokaw, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Film Commission. Brokaw has been a Partner at The Media Company LLC since 2021. He was Principal of Brian Brokaw Consulting LLC from 2011 to 2021. Brokaw was Campaign Manager for Kamala Harris for California Attorney General from 2009 to 2011. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the University of California, Berkeley Citrin Center for Public Opinion Research, The Representation Project, and Open California. Brokaw earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Brokaw is a Democrat.

Sam Nejabat, of San Diego, has been appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees. Nejabat has been Senior Advisor of Business Affairs at the California Department of Justice since 2023. He served in several positions in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development from 2020 to 2023, including Assistant Deputy Director of External Affairs and Senior Business Development Specialist. Nejabat was Founder and President of SJN Properties from 2008 to 2020. He is a member of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors and the San Diego County Fair Board of Directors. Nejabat earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Nejabat is a Democrat.

Ricardo De La Fuente, of San Diego, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. De La Fuente has been a Managing Partner at American International Enterprises Inc. since 2014. He was President and Co-Founder of Streich Solar Industries from 2011 to 2013. De La Fuente was a Sponsorship Director at the Harvard WECAN Conference from 2009 to 2010. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and YPO Global Diplomacy Network. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. De La Fuente is a Democrat.

Ryan Soden, of Woodland, has been appointed to the 40th District Agricultural Association, Yolo County Fair Board of Directors. Soden has been a Grower Field Representative for Crain of California since 2012. He was an Orchard Farm Manager for the Colusa Indian Community Council from 2008 to 2012. Soden was a Sales Representative and Engineer for Alsco Geyer Irrigation from 2003 to 2008. He is a member of the Yolo County 4-H. Soden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from California State University, Chico. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Soden is a Republican.

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