North Dakota's public school system is facing unprecedented change and challenges in the years ahead. Only one candidate for the superintendent of public instruction position is qualified to lead the department into that new territory:?Kirsten Baesler.
Baesler's background and practical experience is impressive. She has dedicated most of her life to education, including considerable time in the classroom as a teacher and as a member of the Mandan school board since 2004, including 7 years as board president.
Baesler is equally impressive in person. She would bring much-needed energy and excitement to the agency, and she's fully capable of discussing virtually any education-related topic. She understands the daily workings of a classroom from a teacher's perspective, and she sees the big picture from a school board member's vantage point.
Baesler is a firm believer in accountability, and has long supported increased state funding for early childhood education. She wants to work closely with the state's university system to reduce the amount of remedial courses needed in the first year of college. She also recognizes that North Dakota's teachers are facing serious new challenges because a population boom is bringing students to the state with varied education backgrounds and proficiency levels.
Tracy Potter is Baesler's opponent. A former state senator, Potter ran unsuccessfully for insurance commissioner in 1984 and lost the U.S. Senate race to John Hoeven in 2010. He serves as the executive director of The Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation. He simpy does not possess the firsthand knowledge or have the educational experience to effectively lead the Department of Public Instruction.
Baesler is uniquely qualified to lead the department. She believes the department should be a clearinghouse for ideas, and would use her considerable expertise to be a strong supporter of both teachers and districts by pushing for more local control. "The best decisions are made by those closest to the kids," she told us in an interview.
Well said. The Minot Daily News endorses Kirsten Baesler.