It was 1969 – a landmark year in U.S. cultural history. Think of all that happened.

Jimi Hendrix played before 400,000 people at Woodstock. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The “Miracle” Mets won the World Series.

Meanwhile, in tranquil Franklin Township, in rural Warren County, Elizabeth “Betsy” Ames took the oath of office as a school board member for the newly formed Warren Hills Regional Board of Education.

Little did she know that she would serve on a board of education for 50 consecutive years – first at Warren Hills Regional, and later for the Franklin Township Board of Education. (For 10 years, she served both.)

The New Jersey School Boards Association videotaped an interview with Betsy recently to celebrate her 50th anniversary as a board member. After all this time, she remains committed to helping children learn.

“In the early days of my board membership, we spent an awful lot of time on nuts and bolts, on the actual, physical running of the school,” Ames said. “I’m so happy… We are now talking a lot more about academics, about education, about what kids are learning … It’s just so exciting for me to see all of this happening.”

In addition to service on her local and regional boards of education, Betsy was a member of NJSBA’s Board of Directors from 2007 to 2015 and for several terms during the 1980s and 1990s. She was also her local school board’s representative to the Warren County School Boards Association.

“Betsy Ames is a role model for every board of education member in New Jersey,” commented Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “It is an honor to recognize her five decades of service to public education and the students of Warren County and New Jersey.”

Fifty years. So many things have happened in that time. The Mets played in three more World Series. The “space race” receded along with the Cold War. Woodstock has faded into history. But Betsy Ames’ belief in the effectiveness of local school board service endures. Hear her insights and her advice for fellow board members in a new NJSBA video profile.