Four run for seats on RCS Board of Education

Bull, Muska, Zabat to run for re-election, Pittel to challenge

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published October 20, 2020

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Four people are running for various seats on the Rochester Community Schools Board of Education Nov. 3.

Board President Kristin Bull, and Trustees Scott Muska and Michael Zabat, are all up for re-election and all hope to return in November.

Bull and Muska are competing against newcomer Joe Pittel for two six-year terms on the board, while Zabat is running unopposed in seeking a two-year term on the board, according to the Oakland County Elections Division.

Bull — who lives in Rochester Hills with her husband and two children, a 2020 RCS graduate and current high schooler — was first elected to the board in 2014.

She served on the TI2020 Task Force that studied and eventually recommended the $185 million technology and infrastructure bond approved by voters in 2015.

Before being elected by her peers as president in 2019, and again in 2020, she served as treasurer and vice president. She works in event production, marketing and advertising for Crain Communications.

Bull said these past five months have been the most challenging of her years of service, but also the most rewarding.

“We are grateful to the teachers, counselors, administrators and school district support staff that have given so much since schools in Michigan closed in March. And we are grateful to the community for their patience and grace as we navigate this unprecedented start to the school year,” she said in an email.

Muska — who lives in Rochester with his wife and preschool daughter — was appointed to the board in 2019. Before joining the board, Muska served on the RCS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Muska is a business owner and investor who has spent most of his career in business development and operations, as well as a professional speaker and a former college and professional basketball assistant coach.

Muska decided to run for re-election because he said he’s capable and he wants to pay it forward.

“I’m at a place in my life now where I’ve filled my cup up, and I have always felt if I could get to where I need to be in my life personally, and my family’s life, the next step is to contribute to my community and give,” said Muska.

Joe Pittel — who lives in Oakland Township with his wife and three children, one in middle school and two in elementary — hopes to join the board in November. Pittel has been a lawyer for 15 years and currently works as general counsel for an automotive supplier. He also serves as a secretary for his corporation’s board of directors.

“It just seemed like a natural fit for me, as a place where I could really contribute because I’m used to those types of board dynamics,” he said. “I think I have a good skill set and add a little diversity of approach to the board.”

Pittel said he also feels there has been a lack of challengers in past board elections.

“I noticed that nobody ever challenges or runs for these positions, and it’s an important job,” he said. “I at least wanted to give voters a choice, so that’s why I ran.”

At press time, Zabat was running unopposed for one two-year term on the board.

Zabat — who has lived in Rochester Hills with his wife and two children, both RCS graduates, for 25 years — has served on the board since 2012, including two years as secretary and three years as treasurer, his current role. As a board member, he was part of the team that appointed Robert Shaner as superintendent in 2013 and served on the TI2020 Task Force. Zabat works as an aerospace engineer and a principal at System Strategy, Inc.

Zabat said he serves on the board to give back to this community that he loves.

“It is an honor for me to serve,” he said in an email.

Zabat jokingly said he is “the old guy” on the board now and has seen the transformation that took place over the past eight years and is proud to have been a part of it.

“I’m running again to provide some stability to the board in these turbulent times,” he said in an email.

The RCS Board of Education’s mission is to “provide a quality education in a caring atmosphere for students to attain the necessary skills and knowledge to become lifelong learners and contribute to a diverse, interdependent and changing world.” The Board of Education’s vision is that “all students work toward the goal of being college-ready, career-ready and life-ready.”

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