As we head toward the 2012 election—an election that promises to be dominated by national issues and how they will affect our quality of life—it is essential to remember that our local elections are equally important and, honestly, have a more direct impact on our daily lives.
Here at home in South Brunswick we have a very important election involving our Board of Education. I’m sure that most of you have seen the posters dotting the side of the road and that most of you (myself included) have had little exposure to most of the candidates. These candidates do not get face time on television, do not have ad campaigns, and do not have a political machine behind them.
However, what they do have, though, is something more personal—the voice of their friends and neighbors. Therefore, as a neighbor and a friend of one of this year’s candidates for the South Brunswick Board of Education, I would like to use my voice to share what I know and feel about Azra Baig.
When I think of Azra, I am stricken by how she is an example of today’s high-achieving mother. She is the mother of two wonderful, smart and outgoing teenage girls, and manages all of the complex issues associated with such energetic kids.
Azra can often be seen driving her kids to and from extra-curricular activities (her car is frequently full of soccer gear). I have been fortunate to have her girls take care of my own kids, and have gotten to know them over the past couple years.
I am impressed by how self-confident they both are—this is a testament to good parenting. She has a carefully balanced parenting strategy: her children have been given the space to explore their individual interests and find their own identity, and while also the input and guidance to make smart and informed choices.
Beyond her role as a mother, she is an incredibly giving citizen. Not only is she active in the extra-curricular activities that her daughters participate in, but she is a nurse, is active in the local mosque, active in our neighborhood watch (she is our link to updates from the local police department), and an active member of our community’s schools.
As an educator myself, I find her experience as a teacher and as a nurse particularly reassuring—she knows how important issues like health and nutrition are to education, and that performing well is facilitated by a holistic education. Excelling at school is more than just acquiring book smarts, but acquiring the life skills needed to succeed and manage the stresses that life throws at you when you leave high school and pursue higher education or join the work force. It is this balanced vision that I know she will bring to our school board.
All in all, Azra is a great parent and a valuable member of our community who has demonstrated time and again that she cares and is willing to give her time to family and community. Thus, as we rapidly approach the election, I am pleased to support Azra in her goal of joining our school board and I am confident that South Brunswick’s schools will benefit with Azra as a member of our Board of Education.
Professor Wade Trappe, South Brunswick
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