Michele Kaish came to the school board after many years of PTA and other volunteer work and has been a valued and productive board member since 2012. For the past six years I’ve seen Michele work resolutely and effectively for what is best for our students, remaining focused and dedicated to doing what’s right.
I had the opportunity to work closely with her on a number of committees at the end of my own tenure on the school board. She is an extremely capable, diligent, effective board member, and I believe strongly that the board needs her experience and good judgment.
I know first-hand the long hours of preparation required of her to perform effectively as vice president and as chair of the Administration and Facilities Committee, and the focus, patience, and persistence required to be an effective leader. Michele is a respected and productive leader.
— Robert J. Johnson
Johnson is a West Windsor resident and former member of the school board.
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I met Michele Kaish when she was running for re-election to the school board in 2015. Since then, I found Michele at almost every PTA meeting I went to. We also worked together in the WW-P Education Foundation in 2016 when I was a board member while Michele was a non-voting member representing the school board.
Michele and her husband have raised three wonderful children in West Windsor, and their youngest son graduated from High School North last year. Not only have I found Michele to be an important resource who knows the past and present of WWiP, I am also amazed by the amount of time and efforts Michele has put into our school district.
As a person who has worked in higher education for more than 20 years, I know almost every parent has an opinion with respect to what the best education system is. I also understand how important and challenging it is for a public education system to include all these different opinions and perspectives. My interaction with Michele has assured me that Michele is the person whom I can trust to bring people with different cultural and economic backgrounds together.
I appreciate many moms in WW-P who are like Michele and have dedicated their entire lives to making our school system better. Michele has my strongest support and I hope Michele will inspire more women in WWP to serve our lovely community in the future.
— Lynn Tang, West Windsor
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My family and I have lived in West Windsor for 20 years. I speak as a resident and a parent of three children who’ve graduated from WW-P public schools—two from North and one from South. I believe Michele Kaish is most qualified to continue in her post not only because she is an intelligent and thoughtful leader, but also because she is compassionate and reasoned in her approach to fostering an academic and social environment that helps students to thrive in West Windsor and beyond.
I have had the privilege of knowing Michele and her family for two decades. My first memory of Michele was at a parent’s orientation meeting at Beth Chaim Pre-School. My son was new to the school and community and Michele and her son were eager to welcome him into their arms. They were kind, thoughtful, fun and inclusive, and the transition was magical. That initial experience with Michele’s family spoke volumes about her as a parent and educator. Michele was raising a truly respectful children and she valued happiness as part of the experience. I really liked that.
As time went by, my admiration for Michele never wavered. Michele was the room parent who always volunteered, but also left room for others to get involved if they wished to do so. She was the PTA liaison and coordinator who worked tirelessly on behalf of each school her children attended. And she knew her stuff. Michele was not a bystander. In fact, you could count on her to advocate for positions regardless of popularity. She was always fair-minded and interested in the best outcomes of all students. She made our school a close-knit community.
As I reflect on my children’s experiences as graduates of WW-P, I know their memories were not all happy. In fact, I don’t think anyone should expect this given the level of competition in our school district. Raising children to be competitive is no easy task given the rigors of WW-P schools. But pushing children to perform their best doesn’t mean you have to break their spirits. Michele gets the difference between pushing and breaking. (One need only look at her children’s successes to see that this is true.) I support Michele Kaish for having the wisdom to see the importance of balance.
WW-P is a fantastic school district with an incredibly consistent track record of graduating bright, accomplished students. We have advocates like Michele Kaish to thank for this because she works tirelessly for our children and our community.
— Betsy McNeilly, West Windsor
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In 2012, I ran against Michele Kaish and lost, but was happy to see her get elected as we had similar goals. There were much fewer lawn signs back then. Michele has now successfully served two terms and has been an active community volunteer for over 20 years. She provides the experience needed to help continue to guide the WW-P school district forward.
— Pete Abitanto, West Windsor
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It is often said that you can judge someone by the company she keeps. However, I prefer to look at qualifications in a bit of a different manner: I think we can judge someone by the children she has raised and by the motives behind action she takes.
I had the privilege of working with Michele Kaish’s three boys on their journeys to college. If these young adults are examples of what our future holds, then we are in very good shape indeed. Bright. Curious. Empathetic. Compassionate. Humble. These are not qualities one can develop in isolation. These are qualities that are most often passed down to us from our parents. These are the qualities that Michele stands for in regards to our WW-P students.
Motives. When I saw Michele a few months ago she told me she was running again for the school board. My immediate response was, “Why? You no longer have kids in the district. Now you can relax and sit back. Why do you need this? So much work! So many fires to put out! Go biking! Go hiking! Meet me at the gym!” Michele laughed as she knew I wasn’t being serious. You see, we are both deeply committed to public service and we are both intensely loyal. I was not at all surprised that Michele chose to continue her work even though there does not appear to be any personal gain involved.
My time in the West Windsor-Plainsboro area goes back to the early 1980s. I have witnessed insane growth, population shifts, Wegmans and Whole Foods. But most important is that I have also witnessed some of the most amazing students to come out of U.S. schools. Though I now live in California, I return for several months a year to continue my work in the WW-P arena. With people like Michele on the board, I am confident that the system my own three children benefited from will remain a true diamond in the rough of education in this country.
— Barbara Kalmus
Kalmus is president of the Princeton Education Network and a former resident of West Windsor
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Regardless whether Michele Kaish is re-elected, her legacy will be one of tireless service, unflagging honesty, wisdom and courage to pursue solutions that are best for our children and our school district.
We are fortunate that we have in our midst a person that embodies the skills our school district strives to instill in our students. I have served with Michele since 2002 in the PTA and on community committees. Michele continually educates herself about the diverse and changing needs of our children and school district. I have witnessed first-hand her thoughtful and measured contributions on issues brought before the board, many of which have been charged with deep emotion and complexity. Her collaborative approach to problem solving is unequalled, and she works tirelessly at finding solutions for the greater good of our schools.
A quality that I have appreciated about Michele is her sense of life balance that must exist for our children to thrive and be successful. Michele has worked since our days serving in PTA together to put policies and programs in place that strike a better balance between academics and the numerous co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities available to our students. Each of Michele’s three sons have gone on from our school district to achieve success largely because of Michele’s integrity in the process of raising and empowering them to find balance in their lives, thus allowing them to claim success on their own terms.
Recently, Michele helped my son earn his religious knot award for Boy Scouts. She took time amid her year-end responsibilities as a parent of a high school senior, a community liaison and as a school board member to meet with, encourage and inspire him to reach his goal.
When Michele told me she felt she could give three more years of service to our school district, I jumped at the chance to sign her application. We have an incredible resource in Michele Kaish.
— Heather Nielsen, West Windsor
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I have been living in this district for 11 years and have just become an American citizen. I am so excited to be able to vote in elections this year for both our community and our country. Over these years I have known Michele Kaish to be very involved with the PTSA, and I have been impressed by her active participation at meetings as a member of the board of education.
During my time as a member of the PTSA boards for both Community Middle School and High School North I have witnessed her dedication to supporting the districts PTAs. She is always willing to answer questions regarding the district’s policies and procedures. The amount of time and effort she puts into this district never ceases to amaze me.
Michele has always been a friendly face in the community, easy to approach and happy to help. As a mother of three children that attended schools in the district, I feel that she has a deep understanding of student and parental concerns and is always readily available. I believe that Michele consistently puts the students best interests first when dealing with board of education decisions.
— Louise Dyke, West Windsor
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Over a period spanning 40 years, I have had the opportunity to observe board of education members through various lenses, including my service and work as a newspaper reporter; school board member in Watchung; as an attorney representing school boards throughout New Jersey; and as an employee and member of the central office administrative team in the WW-P school district for 18 years from 2000 through 2017.
During the five school years I worked with Michele Kaish before I retired, I found her to be among the most dedicated, diligent and effective board members I have observed.
Michele is always prepared for meetings and is not only a probing questioner, but she is also a great listener. She truly values receiving input from members of the community and administration before using her own good judgment to offer her thoughtful insights and to vote on issues before her.
Her experience as vice president of the board, chair of a board of education labor negotiations team and chair of the Administration and Facilities Committee are valuable assets as the board addresses the current and future needs of the school district.
It has always been evident to me that Michele cares deeply about our community where she and her husband have lived for 24 years and raised three sons. I know she is committed to working to ensure that the school district provides an outstanding educational program for all our students and plans astutely for the future.
— Russ Schumacher, West Windsor
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Michele Kaish understands the WWP school community, their experiences and their needs. Besides her various high qualifications she has outstanding qualities that we deserve to see in our school board members:
Knowledge: A selfless dedication with a deep knowledge of the needs of our children and their families and the workings of a school system such as WW-P. Her decisions are based on evidence-based research and logical reasoning.
Selfless service: She doesn’t have children any more in the schools, but still spends time serving the school community. She cares to do this rather than enjoy her free time doing something for herself.
Community minded: She respects parents and citizens of this community whose children are no longer in the schools, having graduated and/or have left . She listens to this group of empty nesters, senior citizens and folks who may not have children in the schools, but all who contribute to the financial health of the schools.
Balance, open-minded views: Michele is balanced and open minded particularly in today’s environment of highly polarized political views and has a healthy approach to discussing the pros and cons of issues that impact the WW-P schools.
Respectful: As parents and community members we have been told by many others, current elected officials and non-officials that we don’t need to care as much about the WW-P schools as our children have now graduated. Our concerns about the financial health of the schools have been questioned by many, but only Michele has listened and been the only person running for an elected position in this town who has spent time explaining the referendum to us, patiently answering our many questions without questioning what our positions may be. She has not brushed aside concerns of those like us who support the schools and want the schools to do well for its children.
— Sunita and Ajay Mookerjee, West Windsor
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Michele Kaish is a soft spoken, friendly and firm person who has long years of association with the WW-P school district. I have met her at the PTA board meetings. I have always found her a positive contributor to any discussion. She has a keen sense of observation and speaks her heart, based on facts on hands.
I have interacted with her on many occasions during my tenure as vice president in the PTA board both at Millstone River school and as well as at Thomas Grover Middle School. She is well informed, easily approachable and helpful.
When I had to work with the school district in connection to including Tamil language in the Bi-Literacy Seal program, she guided me enough that helped me a lot in making a positive progress and getting the bilingual seal program implemented for Tamil language in the WW-P district for the first time. I am sure her re election to the WWP board will be a good for the school district.
— Suchitra Srinivas, West Windsor
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Michele Kaish has been a dedicated school and community volunteer for over 20 years. I first met her when I was the PTA president at Dutch Neck School 13 years ago and she was my executive vice president.
Subsequently, I worked with her on two additional PTA/PTSA executive boards, so I have an excellent understanding of her work ethic and decision-making methodology. Michele always prepares herself for meetings in advance, and weighs any decisions thoughtfully and only after consideration of the many pros and cons. She is open to a variety of viewpoints and welcomes discussion and debate.
I have watched her use these techniques during her two terms on the school board, casting her vote only after thoughtful consideration of the matter at hand. She is respectful of others, whether they agree with her or not, and comports herself in a professional manner. She respects the rules and regulations of both the school and township communities—whether they apply to making financially sound budget decisions or following the township sign ordinance—and shows openness and integrity in her dealings with others. In short, she models the type of behavior expected of the students she represents.
Michele is not motivated by political or personal self-interest but what she feels best serves the interests of all the students in our district. She’s the kind of person I want on the school board.
— Allegra D’Adamo, West Windsor
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Michele Kaish is a uniquely dedicated, skilled and compassionate member of the board, consistently fair-minded and analytical while listening closely to the concerns of parents, teachers, students and taxpayers in our district. This combination of careful analysis and empathy is hard to find, and yet Michele also adds a long history of commitment to, and active involvement in, our school district.
Michele’s connections to the classroom, our schools, and to our district as a whole started many years ago, when she brought her enthusiasm to her own kids’ classrooms and to PTA. As an experienced WW-P board member, she’s applied that same enthusiasm to making policy decisions with integrity. She tirelessly considers every aspect of each question and, always, endorses the approach that she believes to be, based on evidence, in the service of our children’s education and well-being.
On November 6, I urge you to cast your vote for Michele Kaish to continue her service on the WW-P Board of Education.
— Michele Demak Epstein, Plainsboro
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I believe Michele Kaish is the best choice for all district residents. Throughout her six years of service on the school board, Michele has demonstrated significant leadership, knowledge and commitment to our district, our school comminoity and our students. WW-P is not only a high-achieving, academically-oriented district, it also continues to expand.
WW-P faces greater pressures every year to provide the highest level of education to its students, despite the rapid population growth. As a current board member, Kaish has developed expertise in reviewing district budgets, evaluating and revising the curriculum and negotiating teacher contracts, all while balancing the needs of the staff, the students and the taxpayers.
These decisions are not easy ones, and there are no quick fixes to the issues confronted by our school board and administration. Kaish understands that a strong school district benefits everyone. She carefully weighs all viewpoints and all sources of information before making up her mind. She communicates with all segments of the community: students, teachers, parents and senior citizens. She listens. She asks questions. She deliberates. And then Kaish makes tough decisions based on what is best for the community as a whole. Kaish exhibits integrity, commitment and leadership.
— Sue Roy, West Windsor
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As a graduate of the WW-P school district and now a proud parent of three sons in the system, I’ve seen tremendous growth and change in the district through the years. One thing that has remained constant, however, is the community’s commitment to investing in educational excellence. With this mind, I am voting for Michele Kaish for school board and yes on the referendum.
Michele Kaish is a proven leader who has the experience to be prudent with our financial resources and ensure that every dollar supports the best interest of our students. She is a thoughtful listener who uses data, research and facts to arrive at decisions. With so many critical issues on the table, the district needs Michele’s experience, steady leadership and unwavering commitment to educational quality more than ever.
— Libby Vinson, West Windsor
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I have known Michelle Kaish for over a decade and our children have been in the West Windsor-Plainsboro School Sistrict together over that time period. Michelle has been an active volunteer and participant in the education system. She has an insider’s perspective as to how the school district functions and the educational needs of our children. Having put her own children through the district she is well versed in the strengths and weaknesses of the educational system. As a result, she is well prepared to help the next generation of children.
As a school board member since 2012 Michelle has been an active member trying to better the needs of all children. She has always been available to me when I have had questions about school issues. One thing that distinguishes her from her opponents is the fact that she is truly vested in the future of the children of the district and will work hard to continue to improve the quality of education in West Windsor-Plainsboro as our school district expands. Additionally, she is a team player and will do whatever it takes to get the job done in a respectful, communicative manner.
— Melissa Yih, West Windsor