Letter: Dr. Francis has unique combination of razor sharp intelligence, keen listening skills, and kindness

Letter to the Editor, from Carolyn Baek received Oct. 29, 2015

I am very much looking forward to Election Day in order to vote Dr. Gaetane Francis for Board of Education. That an individual of her caliber is gladly willing to serve as an unpaid elected official is an enormous gift to every child, every parent, and every community member in Greenwich. Dr. Francis embodies and embraces academic excellence, and her being seated onto the BOE will have long lasting positive ramifications for this town.

I met Dr. Francis 9 years ago, when I was pregnant with my firstborn and needed a physician. I can still vividly remember sitting in her office, and being impressed by her unique combination of razor sharp intelligence, keen listening skills, and kindness. That positive first impression has only deepened over the course of 9 years.

Dr. Francis welcomed my newborn on his first day of life at Greenwich Hospital. He was small and vulnerable, but I was comforted, knowing that he was in experienced hands.

During these last three years, once my child became a kindergartner, I started attending Board of Education meetings. I was delighted to see and listen to Dr. Francis speaking at these meetings as an informed concerned parent as well as in her role as the PTA Council’s Advanced Learning Program Co-Chair. She is an honest and cogent communicator advocating for academic excellence, positively pressuring the district to perform their primary job of teaching students well with rigorous curriculum.

When I have spoken to her about controversial BOE issues, I’ve appreciated her thoughtfulness and critical thinking skills. Dr. Francis

has the intellectual prowess to comprehend and analyze dense data, consider numerous inputs and variables, and then be pragmatic, making sound policy decisions. She is highly qualified, and will make an excellent BOE member.

Even when I was asking questions specifically about the Advanced Learning Program, I could sense her deep concern and care for all of Greenwich’s children. Instead of just talking about ALP, she talked about reaching students throughout the district with rigorous curriculum and effective teaching that meets the child where he’s at and lifts him up. Her vision and steadfast commitment to enable all students in Greenwich (regardless of background, ability, or learning needs) to reach their highest potential is clear and deeply held. Applying her experience in medicine – where each life, each person is valued – to education policy, I am confident that she will work very hard so that every child in Greenwich has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

As a homeowner and tax payer, I cannot be more excited to support a candidate who will push for academic excellence. Not only will this transform individual young lives, this effort will rejuvenate the wonderful and special community that is Greenwich. As community members, we expect and deserve to be represented by the best – Dr. Francis is exactly that.

Based on the election rules, two Republicans and two Democrats will be seated onto the Board of Education no matter what. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, I invite you to join me, and vote Dr. Gaetane Francis for BOE.

Carolyn Baek