Friese, Nagpal Running For Saline School Board

No strangers to the district, Diane Friese and Smita Nagpal became the first candidates to file for November's school board election Monday

The first two candidates have filed for the November Saline Area Schools election.

Diane Friese, a retired teacher who now illustrates children’s books, and Smita Nagpal, a psychologist who owns her own business, filed at the county clerk’s office Monday morning.

To date, they are the only two candidates for the two available seats on school board. Incumbents and Chuck Lesch are not running. Dawn Ducca, who had is now mulling over a run.

Friese and Nagpal are running a joint campaign around the idea of collaborating with stakeholders to promote quality education and improve the school climate while ensuring the financial sustainability of the district.

“I’ve been committed to education for a very long time. It has been my lifelong career and love,” said Friese. “I want to make sure I have a voice in the educational community.”

Friese, wife of former school board trustee David Friese, taught for more than 30 years. She retired from Wayne-Westland schools and also worked in other districts, such as Manchester, Milan and Ann Arbor.

Friese said recent events have left her concerned about the future of public education.

“I am concerned about the feelings of the public towards public education. I believe public education is a fundamental right,” said Friese.

This is Nagpal’s first run for office. She is no stranger to Saline Area Schools, having been involved with the district in various capacities as a psychologist. Her son, Aaron Mukerjee, recently graduated from Saline High School.

“I feel strongly about issues occurring right now in our community, particularly the quality of education,” Nagpal said. “I would like to bring more focus to the needs of the students.”

Nagpal owns Still Waters Counseling Services.

“As a small business owner, I know about the balance between quality of service and being financially sustainable,” Nagpal said.

Other objectives of the campaign are to:

According to their campaign, other objectives are to promote policies that are financially sustainable

  • Promote cutting edge techniques to maintain and improve the quality of education in the district.
  • Promote a stimulating and positive school climate for all students.
  • Promote great teaching by measuring both the science and the art of teaching (go beyond test scores).
  • Promote an environment that fosters civility and collaboration.

The deadline for filing is at 4 p.m. Aug. 14. Petitions must be filed at the Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office, 200 N. Main St, Ann Arbor.


Scylding August 01, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Exactly! Well said.
Scylding August 01, 2012 at 09:43 PM
There is way too little information in this article to be able to speak substantively to what is presented. Their platform is platitudes. The focus, right now, as others indicate, needs to be financial. Their platform must contain specific measures that they would take to address the crisis at hand. So far, it doesn't. Until she somehow proves otherwise, Friese represents the status quo that put us in the red. Sorry, but that's what retired "30-year pulic-school teacher" and husband of the very far-left David Friese means to me. NEXT! As for Nagpal, guilt by association. Glad Slawson pulled out.
Jude Levinson August 02, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I am a retired teacher and administrator in Private Boarding Arts High Schools with 45 years experience. Having work alongside several Boards of Education, I strongly feel that the best Educational Board members are people who understand business and financial matters as well as having a deep compassion for students and quality education. Knowing Nagpal for eight years, I know her as an intuitive, sensible, capable, and successful person with business and personal savvy. She is a parent who has raised an intelligent son who exemplifies the very best of the current generation of young people. I am very pleased to have her running for a position on the Board. I have every confidence that she will be an asset to the Board and the community. Jude Levinson
Tran Longmoore August 02, 2012 at 04:51 AM
It's the beginning. There will more information at a later date.
WWysocki August 02, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Well said Jude! I agree that the most effective Board members should have an understanding of financial matters as well as a commitment to quality education. I believe both Smita and Diane have the potential to bring to the Board valuable educational and financial experience as well as a strong commitment to quality education. I look forward to hearing more about their visions for Saline Area Schools. I find it disheartening that a few people posted comments against these two candidates without any specific facts about their ideas. I don't believe that one can assume that because someone is a retired teacher, he or she would not be a worthy candidate and automatically advocate " demanding we support their ability to retire at the age of 52 with a 3000 dollar a month pension ( current dollars) and healthcare till they die 40 years later." This statement seems to be more of generalization that stems from a personal position regarding unions and public employees rather than a substantiated statement about the qualifications of the candidate . It seems to me there was not enough information in one article to support a well- informed voting decision.


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