Irene Newton, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Education and Speech Pathology (1963) as well as her Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology (1965) from the University of Southern California joined the Rialto Unified School District in 1964 for the start of a stellar 38 year career with that district. During nearly four decades in Rialto USD, she held a host of positions: Speech Therapist, School Counselor, K-12 Consolidated Projects Program Specialist, Elementary Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, and District Superintendent. The diversity of these positions provided Mrs. Newton the opportunity to work with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and governing board members in setting and achieving many educational goals of the district.
Of special note was her assignment as Principal of Bemis Elementary School which housed six pre-school through sixth grade classes from the Office of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. The challenge was to integrate the county students with the district students while developing and implementing a district Gifted and Talented (GATE) magnet program. The process went so well that Bemis Elementary was recognized and rewarded for Excellence in Education by the United States Department of Education as a "Blue Ribbon School."
Mrs. Newton was well-known during her entire career for her ability to work collaboratively with all personnel and members of the community and solving matters before they problems and big issues. Her steadfast leadership facilitated the 29,000 student district to effectively deal with a burgeoning student growth population which necessitated the building of five new elementary schools, one new middle school, and one new comprehensive high school.