October 20, 2021

Candidate Baglio is Dedicated to Enhancing Equity, Educational Outcomes for All Children

To the Editor:

I write to express my enthusiastic support for Betsy Baglio’s candidacy for re-election to the Princeton Board of Education. I’ve known Betsy for years, ever since our kids started playing baseball and doing musical theater together at Princeton Middle School.

When we evaluate Board candidates, we usually focus on their experience, their education, their values, and their moral commitments. All of this matters enormously, and in all of these categories, Betsy’s qualifications speak for themselves. Betsy is a Princeton graduate, an experienced teacher with a master’s in education, and the parent of two PPS children. She has dedicated her professional career and six years on the Board to enhancing equity and educational outcomes for all children. It’s hard to imagine a better resumé.

But I want to focus here on the harder-to-measure qualities that aren’t evident from Betsy’s sterling record: Betsy’s unparalleled ability to listen, to facilitate discussion and consensus across areas of broad disagreement, and to inspire people to work together to get things done. Multi-member decision-making bodies like our BOE are premised on the idea that a group of elected representatives is better equipped than a single individual to recognize, understand, and meet the needs and interests of its community. Deliberation is key to boards’ effectiveness: through discussion and the weighing of ideas, these groups screen out bad proposals and sharpen good ones. Not surprisingly, for such deliberation to be effective, communication and openness are key.

In these areas, Betsy’s strengths are unmatched. As long as I’ve known Betsy, I’ve been struck by her ability to bring people together. People love being around Betsy. And who wouldn’t? She’s gregarious and endlessly enthusiastic. She knows a huge number of people, and because she listens so closely to everyone she speaks with, she remembers everything about their concerns and their lives. She’s an effortless leader, whether it’s organizing rides to practice or coordinating end-of-season gifts for unpaid, dedicated Little League coaches. She’s a natural at persuading people to get involved, and she’s equally gifted at attending to big and small details to make sure a project gets done: a born problem-solver. I’ve witnessed these talents firsthand in our interactions on the baseball bleachers, and I’ve witnessed them from afar in her deft work on the Board.

All these skills make Betsy uniquely well-suited to serve on a decision-making body. She listens. She understands where others are coming from and communicates that understanding to others, an essential tool in building consensus. She sizes up problems quickly and accurately, comes up with feasible solutions, and eagerly rolls up her sleeves to see those solutions executed. Her optimism and can-do attitude are irresistible. She is, in short, an ideal member of our Board. I urge readers to join me in re-electing Betsy to another term.

Jane Manners
Wheatsheaf Lane