By Anne Stanton
TRAVERSE CITY — Gary Appel appeared to cruise to re-election to the Traverse School Board.
With 31 percent of the vote in, Appel had about 65 percent of the votes to outpace challenger Thomas Grigal.
"I just happened to be up for re-election," Appel said. "I really view this as a vote of confidence for our district leadership in moving the district from good to great."
Appel was reached at the McCormack Center in Chicago, shortly after the election was called for President Barack Obama. His son, Raffi, has been working as a writer on Obama's digital team at the campaign headquarters in Chicago and was able to obtain a pass for his parents.
Appel said the district accomplished a tremendous amount over the last few years, despite tough financial times.
He cited the expansion of the Montessori program, the re-opening of Bertha Vos as an International Baccalaureate program, and the teaching of Spanish from kindergarten through high school, plus a wide range of other small programs.
Grigal, interviewed before the results were in, said he planned to tuck his two young children into bed and read the results in the morning. Grigal said he will run again in 2014 when four seats will be up for election.