Opinion: A New Era for Natomas Schools

FOR THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Come Nov. 9, our Natomas Unified school board will look very different! As the votes from our election night are tallied, our school board will transform into a shape that has the potential to truly represent all voices in our community.

After years of advocacy from community leaders, our district has moved to a “by-area” model and will no longer be “at-large.” This move offers Natomas the first chance to have representation from all geographic areas in the region. This year, we have the chance to elect two brand board members in the brand new Areas 1 and 4.

The Natomas Teachers’ Association (NTA) is proud to recommend Noel Mora for Area 1 and Cindy Quiralte for Area 4.

NTA represents the teachers, counselors, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, nurses, and social workers who work every day in the classrooms with children of this community. We come together to interview and vote on whether or not to recommend candidates.

Why do we recommend Noel and Cindy? It’s simple: they both share fundamental goals with educators: driving resources to the classroom so that educators can create the best classroom experience for the students who attend our schools, and working to improve teacher retention and recruitment in our community.

Even prior to the pandemic, Natomas Unified had the lowest average teacher retention in the region. Our teachers stay in our schools eight years on average. Neighboring districts average more than 12 years per teacher. If we’re ever going to change this, we need school board members who will take the time to listen and understand educators.

To date, Noel Mora and Cindy Quiralte are the only candidates who have taken the time to meet with us.

Getting to know Noel and Cindy

In Area 1, NTA recommends Noel Mora. Noel was raised in south Natomas and graduated from Natomas schools. He currently works at Sacramento State and oversees community outreach throughout the Sacramento region. He is from our community and has a deep appreciation and understanding of school sites throughout our district. Noel is committed to ensuring students have the supports they need including mental health support on every campus. He listens to teachers when we discuss the challenges we currently face, including the safety of ourselves and all of our students.

In Area 4, NTA recommends Cindy Quiralte. Cindy is a mother of a student in the district, a PTA member and she is the Family Engagement Coordinator at the California Department of Education. Having been a policy advisor to both Tom Torlakson and Tony Thurmond, Cindy brings with her a depth of knowledge about education policy that many first time board members do not have. She is able to see the big, statewide picture and as a parent and a board member she can translate those larger policy issues into our local schools and Natomas community.

As we move forward in Natomas in the post pandemic era, we have an obligation to do what is best for all the students in the district. Natomas residents could not have two better choices to steer our district into the future. We urge you to vote for Cindy and Noel.

Learn more about NTA at natomasteachers.org

The Natomas Teachers’ Association represents and advocates on behalf of the classroom teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers, and nurses of Natomas Unified School District. We are professionals with a passion for education and social justice.

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