Despite a 15-year career in education, it wasn’t until my own child entered kindergarten during a pandemic that I truly appreciated the impact of good leadership.
The transition into kindergarten is bittersweet at any time, but this year’s intrepid five-year-olds faced a challenge that brought with it more than a little anxiety for parents. Would my child be safe? Was remote instruction or in-person learning better for our family? Would she get a quality education? Would her teachers have the resources to do their jobs well despite impossible circumstances?
As the school year comes to an end, I look back with gratitude for all the Bedford Central School District (BCSD) community has accomplished. Thanks to the work of the school board, families were able to opt in to the learning model that best served their needs. All students had access to Chromebooks to meet the challenge of learning in a pandemic.
In his first term on the board, Mike Bauscher was part of the team that met this crisis head on. Mike listens to the needs of the community, and together with the board, made data-informed decisions that have, in my mind, positioned Bedford as an exemplar district when it comes to its pandemic response.
In addition to his steady leadership through the pandemic, Mike has also demonstrated fairness and integrity in his first term on the board. The board has significantly improved the district’s fiscal health over the last few years, with the state comptroller concluding that Bedford has no fiscal stress for the first time in years.
Mike is an advocate for a challenging and well-rounded education for all children in the district. He is able to achieve these things because he truly listens to all stakeholders. He is committed to collaboration with the community to best serve the entire district.
Importantly, candidates Mike Bauscher and Namasha Schelling see the diversity of BCSD as its strength. They are committed to equity and inclusion, and are dedicated to a future in which all students and staff feel a sense of belonging. This work takes listening, resources and strategy, and I am encouraged by this commitment to anti-racism in BCSD.
As I look ahead to next school year, the anxiety I felt this time last year is replaced with fortitude and pride thanks to leaders like Mike. On Tuesday, May 18 I’ll be casting my vote to re-elect Mike Bauscher to the Bedford Board of Education.
Lisa Mitchell, Ed.D.
Bedford Central School District parent and resident