Paul Wellman
Ernie Brooks
Paul Wellman

A solid crowd of young students, veteran educators, and city dignitaries gathered at Santa Barbara Middle School (SBMS) last week for its 40th anniversary, an event made historic with the announcement by Ernie Brooks Jr. (pictured right) that he was gifting the 31,500-square-foot Jefferson Campus schoolhouse and 10-acre Riviera parcel to the popular private school, which has been operating on the property since 2011. For 30 years, Jefferson Campus was home to Brooks Institute of Photography, founded by Brooks Sr. in 1945. Brooks Jr. said that educational visions he shares with SBMS Head of School Brian McWilliams prompted him to sign over the property. “Ernie Brooks is the man,” said McWilliams. “He really did something so incredible for this school and our community.” For more on the man and his gift, go to


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