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Published October 25 2012

Forum editorial: Baesler for ND education

As public education in North Dakota embraces a new and intense era, the state needs a superintendent of public instruction who is fully prepared to meet the challenges. Kirsten Baesler, of Mandan, is that person.

Baesler’s experience in public education ranges from the classroom to the school board, from small-town schools to administration in a large district. She’s been immersed in the complexities and evolution of education for many years, and by all accounts is a genuine expert.

Moreover, Baesler’s experience has afforded her an excellent understanding of the relationship between public schools and the success or failure of students who attend North Dakota’s public universities. Having seen firsthand how inadequate preparation in high school puts college students at a serious disadvantage, she recognizes the value of working with the University System to make positive changes.

Baesler is an outspoken champion of early childhood education, an area where the state Legislature has not done enough in the way of funding for local school districts. She will be a strong voice for directing more resources for the education of very young children.

An indication of the regard in which she is held, Baesler received the endorsement of the North Dakota Education Association, the teachers union. A longtime member of NDEA, she knows the circumstances that confront classroom teachers every day. She knows good teachers need the right tools and unwavering support to do the job well.

Tracy Potter, a former state senator, is Baesler’s opponent. A sincere candidate who has worked in education, he does not have the depth and breadth of experience Baesler will bring to the job at the Department of Public Instruction.

Confident, competent and energetic, Baesler will be the new face of K-12 public education in North Dakota, not only in the state but also on the national stage. For the first time in a long time, the state has the revenue to make large and wise investments in education, with a goal of making schools the best in the nation. Baesler is uniquely qualified to lead that effort.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.