April 17, 2018
Superintendent Baker selected as GC commencement speaker
GCPS superintendent is strong advocate of close relationship with county's college
There are plenty of administrative duties involved with being superintendent of schools, but it's the students she serves and the people she works with that drive Barbara Baker's love for her job.
"We have very dedicated teachers, administrators, and support staff, and I have the privilege of working with them every day. I also truly love interacting with the students and the community," said Superintendent Baker, who became interim superintendent of Garrett County Public Schools in July 2016 and permanent superintendent a year later. "From attending their sporting, drama, and robotics events to handing each senior his or her diploma, it is a dream come true for me to serve Garrett County in this capacity."
Superintendent Baker's strong commitment to educating Garrett County students was one of the reasons for her selection as the 2018 Garrett College commencement speaker, according to GC President Richard Midcap.
"You only have to spend a few minutes with Superintendent Baker to understand her commitment to Garrett County children and her belief in the power of education," said Dr. Midcap. "I think the fact that she graduated from the GCPS system and came back here to teach, move into administration and eventually become superintendent is a powerful message for our students. I greatly appreciate her emphasis on a strong partnership between GCPS and Garrett College that clearly works to the benefit of our community."
"Dr. Midcap and I share a common philosophy that we want to do everything we can to provide educational opportunities for all kids, whether they are in kindergarten, a senior in high school, or a freshman in college," said Superintendent Baker. "By having a collaborative partnership, we can pool our resources to ensure that we are doing all we can to meet our shared goals."
Garrett College's 46th commencement will take place on Saturday, May 19th in the Community Aquatic and Recreation Center gymnasium on GC's campus. The commencement ceremony will start at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
Superintendent Baker said she values the opportunities Garrett College provides to GCPS graduates.
"Garrett College is a great option for our graduating seniors who want to start their college career while staying close to home. The Commissioners' Scholarship takes that a step further by providing the opportunity at no cost to Garrett County residents," said Superintendent Baker, referring to the county-supported scholarship program that covers tuition to GC and most fees for local students. "That is a tremendous benefit to our students and families.
"Garrett College also offers a wide variety of valuable courses in their continuing education department," she added. "As an educator, I am a proponent of lifelong learning, and Garrett College is an excellent way for members of our community to continue their own learning experiences."
Superintendent Baker said her own initial career goal was to be a television journalist.
"Early on in my coursework, I realized that wasn't for me after all," recalled the superintendent. "So, I looked for a career in which I could still share my love of writing and speaking and I landed on elementary education with a minor in German."
Now in her 28th year with GCPS, Superintendent Baker began her career as a German instructor at Southern Middle School in 1990. She has served in a variety of roles, including elementary teacher, principal, director, and assistant superintendent, before being selected as superintendent nearly two years ago.
Beyond her involvement at the local level, Superintendent Baker has participated in regional and state-level educational planning and implementation.
Superintendent Baker graduated from Northern Garrett High School, which she believes makes it easier for parents to relate to her.
"One of the best parts [of being superintendent] is the fact that as a graduate of Northern Garrett and having taught here for my whole career, I know so many people and they know me," said Superintendent Baker. "This makes parents and community members feel comfortable reaching out to me to discuss concerns. In addition, being a graduate of the system helps me understand our small, rural system and know that we face certain challenges that other districts do not."
Superintendent Baker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a minor in German from Ohio University. She earned a master's degree in school guidance and counseling from Frostburg State University, as well as a certification in administration and supervision from FSU.
Superintendent Baker is currently working toward a doctorate in educational leadership at Frostburg State University.
Superintendent Baker served as president of the Oakland Rotary Club in 2015 and currently serves as chairman of the annual Christmas project. In addition, she has organized and participated in fundraisers, and coordinated educational guest speakers. Most recently the Rotary Club honored her with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award, given annually to one member who has gone above and beyond to serve the community in the spirit of Rotary.
Superintendent Baker is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional honor society of women educators whose mission is to promote professional and personal growth and excellence in education. She has two siblings who are also involved in education – teacher Suzan Taylor-O'Brien and Southern Garrett High head wrestling coach David Taylor.
Her daughter, Nicole Ann Baker, is a 2016 graduate of Southern Garrett High School. Together, they enjoy spending time with family, outdoor activities, attending national sporting events, and supporting county activities such as sports, robotics, arts, and sciences.