Gayle Garbolino-Mojica is serving her third term as the Placer County Superintendent of Schools. She spoke in the Zócalo green room about her affinity for the 1920s and Tom Clancy novels before taking part in a Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation panel discussion in Sacramento entitled “Is the Central Valley Finally Embracing Its Urban Future?”
What’s your favorite thing about living in the Central Valley?
The access to a variety of different lifestyles. Where I live, in Roseville, it’s 20 minutes for me to come to Sacramento. I can go to a game or a concert downtown. On Friday I’m taking my kids to San Francisco, which is two hours away. We have a cabin an hour and a half away in Tahoe. We’re close to the wine country. So in a short period of time you have a lot of different experiences. And the people are great here.
Do you have a favorite 20th century American author?
The most prolific author that I’ve read is Tom Clancy. I started reading his novels when I was 18 and have read all of them, and have named some pets after his characters.
What do you like about his novels?
The politics. They’re smart and make you think. You can go on for three or four pages reading about nuclear fission and how that works into a nuclear bomb. And you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, what kind of research did this guy have to do?”
What device do you like to read on most?
My iPad. I like having all my books with me, my digital library.
If you could travel to any time period, past or future, what would it be?
Probably the 1920s. They were real wild politically, there was stuff happening on the world stage that was incredibly influential. The prohibition of alcohol was a very interesting turn of events. And–I’m not going to lie–the fashions!
Did you have any nicknames as a kid?
My mom and dad called me Gayle-Poo.
Was there a teacher or professor who deeply influenced you or even changed your life?
My fifth grade teacher. This is hard for people to imagine but I used to be very shy. Mrs. Klingler was very much involved in theater arts and was a performer. She introduced me to theater and that was the first time I actually got up and sang and danced in front of people. I was a tall, awkward little girl–I was taller than Mrs. Klingler–and she taught me to embrace what God had given me, that we all have talents and gifts.