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Newcomer, three incumbents campaign for three seats on Galt elementary board

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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 10:00 pm

A single newcomer faces three incumbents for three seats on the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District board in November.

Newcomer Enrique Zamora is vying for one of three seats currently held by longtime trustees Donna Fluty, Don Nottoli and Tina Skinner.

The position receives no pay, though trustees are eligible for up to $6,000 in medical benefits yearly.

Enrique Zamora

Enrique Zamora

Zamora is a political newcomer. He sought a seat on the board to offer voters a fresh perspective, he said.

From his work on the district's English language advisory committee and his children's school, he noticed few parents involved.

"It's very important that we have the parent participation," he said.

Zamora, a 39-year-old insurance claims adjuster in Lodi, wanted to model that concept for his own two children.

"It helps make children more confident in school and puts an emphasis on education," he said.

He also wanted to give back to the community, he said.

Zamora said the district is doing well in many areas, though work still needs to be done in improving test scores and dealing with overcrowding.

He also believes schools need to integrate more technology into daily coursework, such as researching projects or creating multimedia presentations.

He lives with his wife, Patricia, and two children in Galt.

Donna Fluty

Donna Fluty

Fluty, 41, joined the board 12 years ago after being involved in her children's education, parent club and youth athletics.

"I've always had an interest in education," she said, which led to her decision to vie for a seat on the board in 1990.

Fluty, who works in Galt's city clerks office, has not faced opposition since her first bid for the board.

She credited the board's success in the community to trustees having a range of experience, which bring different perspectives to the table.

"We have a good variety as far as the length of tenure on the board," she said.

Fluty said Galt schools face similar challenges to other school districts in the state in meeting academic standards, retaining veteran teachers and managing a growing student population.

"Our job was made easier with the recent passage of the elementary school bond. Although as the city continues to grow, we will have to provide housing," she said.

She lives with her husband, Larry, in Galt. The couple have two grown sons and three sons enrolled in Galt schools.

Don Nottoli

Don Nottoli

Nottoli has had the longest tenure as a trustee in the district's history. He has served 36 years on the board.

"I've been blessed with health and energies to do that," he said.

Nottoli, 75, said his commitment hasn't changed in the time on the board.

"I want to contribute to the welfare of our students," he said.

Before he retired, Nottoli worked 40 years as a teacher and coach at Galt High School.

The district last year bestowed the highest recognition to Nottoli, deciding to name the third middle school after the longtime trustee.

Handling overcrowding and student growth will be challenges for the district in the future, he said.

Nottoli is married to his wife of 27 years, Lucy. The couple have five grown children and six grandchildren.

Tina Skinner

Tina Skinner

It was a suggestion by a teacher that prompted Skinner to run for a seat on the board 17 years ago.

She had been involved with parent club and student activities and serving as a trustee seemed like a natural progression, she said.

Skinner, 54, has continued on the board because she's enjoyed the experience of working on projects and setting new goals.

"It's gratifying to be a part of it," she said. "I'm really proud of our district."

Skinner, who works as a Galt real estate agent, said the district has some challenges, including planning for future growth and improving academics.

"We need to continue to promote academic excellence and provide a safe learning environment for students," she said.

Skinner lives in Galt with her husband, Tom.

The couple have two grown sons.

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