Board Support & Communications Specialist
(408) 635-2600, ext. 6031
When the Board of Education held its first meeting of the 2017-18 year, there was a new face at the dais to represent the approximately 10,340 students Milpitas Unified School District serves. Board President Daniel Bobay introduced Milpitas High School junior Priyanshi Nigam as the new Student Board Representative during the August 22 Board Meeting.
That evening, Nigam shared her excitement in having a seat on the Board of Education where she is looking forward to making a positive impact by representing the interests and concerns of the school district’s students. Nigam graduated from Pomeroy Elementary School and Thomas Russell Middle School before joining Milpitas High School.
She is taking over for Alan Pham, who graduated from MHS last year, until the one-year term ends next June. At that time, Nigam and the Board can choose to continue her term or elect another representative.
“I am very excited and honored to join the MUSD school board with a whole team of committed members, many of whom I have had the chance to work with and meet in the past,” Nigam said. She knows Board Vice President Chris Norwood through a computer science course she attended with the Bay Area Tutoring Association he founded and Board Member Robert Jung by participating in a tutoring program with the Milpitas Community Educational Endowment (MCEE) he created. In addition, Nigam recently met with Norma Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Development, regarding improving students’ educational and learning experiences.
As the Student Board Representative, Nigam will sit in on the school board’s meetings, reading up on the issues beforehand and participating in the discussions to provide a students perspective and thoughts on the issues raised. She will also be expected to work with representative(s) from Calaveras Hills High School and build relationships with Principals, Parent Teacher Associations, and other school organizations in order to report on all student activities to Board Members. In addition, she will report back to the MHS student body during the Student Council and Congress Meeting about what was discussed during recent Board Meetings.
Bobay said he is looking forward to having Nigam play a more active role in the governance process of Board Meetings. For example, Nigam will be able to give preferential vote on Board agenda items, as is laid out in Board Bylaw 9150 “Student Board Members,” which he shared with her in preparation for the new role.
According to the policy: “A student Board member may cast preferential votes on all matters except those subject to closed session discussion. Preferential votes shall be cast prior to the official Board vote and shall not affect the final numerical outcome of a vote. Preferential votes shall be recorded in the Board minutes.”
Bobay acknowledged that while the vote may not affect the process, it will allow Board Members and Executive Cabinet to consider what the new face of MUSD students feels on topics that may impact them most.
Nigam said she has a passion for science, coding, math, and, most of all, helping other students succeed academically by enjoying learning, including her 8-year-old brother, Pranav.
“I love working with children, and I want them to be inspired by learning and see middle and high school as a way to further their passions and learning,” Nigam said.
She has harnessed these interests by creating and teaching a summer math class to second through fourth grade students since June 2016 at Shirdi Sai Parivaar, where she attends temple; acting as a tutor at Marshall Pomeroy Elementary School since October 2016 through the MCEE; working as a summer camp counselor at the India Community Center in the summers of 2015 and 2016; and by being on the Red Cross Safekids Committee and teaching a disaster safety class to second graders at Pomeroy Elementary. Nigam is also a host on a weekly radio show about teenage perspectives on pressing issues, “Thank Gosh It’s Fresh,” by Media Mahima Creations, since June 2016.
This summer, Nigam received a scholarship to participate in Kode with Klossy, an organization that empowers girls to learn coding and become leaders in technology, according to its website. As part of the program, she co-created the web application “Flavorful,” which shares quick and easy recipes that suit particular cravings. Nigam along with two other San Francisco scholars created the application in two days after learning to program in Ruby, HTML/CSS, and Sinatra, within just eight days.
Nigam said she is looking forward to furthering her passion through her new role with the Board of Education.
“Now, I have the chance to encourage and work with more students and I hope to make a meaningful impact to improve the experience of students' learning in a district that I have been a part of since kindergarten,” Nigam said.