Suraj Viswanathan is running for a seat on Milpitas Unified School District’s (MUSD) Board of Education.
As a parent of two boys (a first- and sixth-grader) who attend Mabel Mattos Elementary School, Viswanathan has a vested interest in the school district.
He has been serving on MUSD’s Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) for the past four years. The committee is composed of Milpitas residents who oversee the $284 million Measure AA bond approved by voters in the November 2018 election.
“It’s been a great learning experience. I understand where taxpayers’ money goes and how the school staff works,” said Viswanathan. “They really pour their heart out into the job.”
In 2018, Viswanathan came out to Curtner Elementary School to work with teachers and students on playing the game of cricket. He has done similar trainings with schools in Dublin and Palo Alto.
Cricket has been a passion of Viswanathan’s since he started playing it at the age of 14. He owns ProCricShop, a business he started 10 years ago. In 2012, the shop started out in San Jose, near the Great Mall, on Ringwood Ave. But in 2018, Viswanathan moved it to N. Milpitas Blvd. An indoor cricket center, the store sells supplies and also provides indoor lanes for rental, mostly to academies with cricket students.
Viswanathan has also been serving as President of the Bay Area Cricket Alliance (BACA) for the past seven years.
“It’s the biggest league in the bay area, and has more than 1,500 players,” said Viswanathan. “Every weekend, they play. We have about 60 teams playing.”
He served as Director and Secretary of the USA Cricket Board for four years, and just recently finished his tenure there. Through that organization, he worked on programs across the country, and even attended the 2017 SHAPE Convention, helping to train around 1,200 PE teachers on how to implement cricket programs in their schools.
“My major achievement while serving on the Board was negotiating and signing a billion-dollar deal with the American Cricket Enterprise to run Major League Cricket,” shared Viswanathan.
He mentioned that the organization is also in the final stages of negotiations to build a cricket stadium at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds.
He has also received two congressional recognitions for his work in the community, both from Congressman Ro Khanna in 2019 and 2021.
Viswanathan ran for Milpitas City Council in both 2018 and 2020, getting to know voters but not landing a seat. His focus is now on the school board, though; he feels he has the experience and know-how to make a contribution in the district.
When asked what his priorities would be were he to get elected, Viswanathan said he didn’t believe in making wholesale changes, and that he would take the time to really learn what was happening across the schools in the district.
“I feel the school district is doing a great job,” said Viswanathan. “I want to give my valuable input where it matters and make a positive impact on the schools. I don’t believe in wholesale changes. The changes I bring to the table will be seamless. Very small changes that will make a big difference at the end of the day.”
Viswanathan also spoke of how he would like to help find ways to support struggling families in becoming more financially stable. He has already spoken to various incubator companies, looking for ideas and opportunities that might be available to families.
“Mental health is also important,” said Viswanathan. “Some parents have to work three different jobs and don’t have time to listen to their kids’ problems. That’s how this economic impact comes into the picture. That becomes a real problem at the end of the day.”
Viswanathan also feels that his presence on the board would bring much-needed diversity.
“If I get elected, I would be the first Indian to get elected in Milpitas,” said Viswanathan. “And we bring value. That can be through our culture, or through giving others the opportunity to understand more about who we are.”
This article has been updated.