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Ms. Eileen Baker, BakerE@district279.org

Special Education

Where did you go to school and what is your previous job experience?

Initially I attended Santa Monica College in California followed by California State University Northridge. Originally, I moved to California to attend FIDM, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, to become a Fashion Designer. When I realized that this did not suit my personality, or my grand expectations, I tried more retail work and then, fortunately, I got a job working as a Teacher’s Aide at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, CA. I realized then that teaching suited my personality and I had found something I really enjoyed. I eventually moved back to Minnesota in 1994 and received a BS in Special Education at St. Cloud State University in 1999. After graduating, I worked at Eagan High School for one year, Anoka High School for one year, North View Junior High for about three years and Park Center For about two and a half years.

When did you begin working at Park Center?

2003

What is your teaching philosophy?

Work hard for my students, empower my students to be as independent as they can, do my best, be patient, be respectful, be kind and compassionate, be creative, be resourceful, seek help and ideas from colleagues and mentors, never give up, create a safe, cooperative, respectful and calm environment, keep learning, and use and see humor whenever possible. Oh, and decorate the classroom with plenty of Lava lamps.

Why did you choose your profession?

Working in retail was boring and negative, becoming a fashion designer required technical skills, and an aggressive personality I did not have. Working as a Teacher’s Aide made me realize that becoming a Special Education Teacher suited my personality, skills and my desire to find a meaningful career.

What is your favorite quote?

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” (Gandhi)

In what room(s) can you commonly be found?

In rooms #315 and 317.

Additional Comments(hobbies)?

I like to read suspenseful novels, some biographies, spend lots of time with my husband and cats, make jewelry, sew, embroider and bead clothing and t-shirts. I am Vegan due to my concerns about animals, and I enjoy riding my recumbent bike in the winter and my recumbent bike and mountain bike in the summer.

Advice for students going to college?

I waited until I was thirty to finish college. I believe that had I gone to and finished college right after high school, my life would have been better as I would have been more independent. I feel that having a college degree is a very important aspect of a young woman’s life as it enables her to be independent and therefore not in the position of depending on another person which could lead to abuse, or a situation that strips her self-esteem.

Biggest pet peeve?

Cruel Behavior.