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The Race For The Newport-mesa School Board

October 20, 2000

Danette Goulet

She was back where it all began.

Making her way across the courtyard at Kaiser Elementary School in

Costa Mesa, toward the school library decorated with a mural of a rolling

hillside and a choo-choo train, Martha Fluor was home.

It's no wonder the school is among her favorite places in the

community.

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Fluor's political endeavors began nine years ago at Kaiser, where she

was working as an instructional aide.

Her children had attended Kaiser since the family moved to Newport

Beach in 1983, right after the school's reopening.

As a concerned mother, Fluor had chosen a neighborhood for its good

school: Mariners Elementary. But after one trip to Kaiser's office, she

was hooked.

"They told me this is the place you want to be," she said.

Fluor was so enamored with the school that in 1987, after teaching

special education in the Orange Unified School District for years, she

took a position at Kaiser, teaching English as a second language.

"I think it is one of the things I am most proud of," she said. "About

90% of the students I worked with have graduated high school, and many

are in college now."

A year after she started working in the Newport-Mesa Unified School

District, discussions about opening Kaiser Primary began. By that time,

Fluor was entrenched in district politics, working to get the school

opened.

The following year, when the Mesa Consolidated Water District wanted

to build a reservoir on school property at Kaiser Elementary, she jumped

in with both feet to fight the project.

Next thing she knew, she was running for a seat on the school board --

and then quitting her job.

"The minute I was elected, I resigned," she said.

Although she misses working with children, Fluor said she feels she

can do more good for them from her present position -- sitting on the

dais.

"I miss not having the opportunity to interact with children on a

daily basis, but I think globally I can serve students and parents better

sitting on the school board," she said.

Now, after nine years on the board, she once again finds herself drawn

to students.

While intent on retaining her seat on the Newport-Mesa school board in

the upcoming election, Fluor has accepted a consulting job at a school in

Irvine.

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