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.