Starr Baker, 2001
When I first became a teacher in the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District the year was 1971 and I had no interest in becoming a member of the teachers union. First, I didn't really understand what the MTA did, second, I really didn't care, and third, my salary was so low it didn't seem like a wise thing to do – have money taken out to join a teachers "club."
Then along came a gentleman by the name of Starr Baker, the president of the local association, who with a smile on his face, and energy oozing out his pores, and optimism enough for a hundred people – he made the difference. He explained the necessity for every teacher to belong to the MTA and support each other. He showed us that only through teacher involvement could change for the better ever occur. He nudged and coaxed and reasoned, month after month and year after year, until almost 100% of the staff had signed on.
He guided us through good times and bad times, through individual crises or district upheaval. He tirelessly negotiated contracts.
After his family, his first priority was always education – the students, the staff, the program, the MTA. He dedicated his entire career for the betterment of others. There were times when those close to him worried that the hours he put in and the stress of certain years would endanger his health, but he never let it stop what he believed should happen – and happen it did.
He never let anything interfere with doing the best lessons possible for his students and providing a nurturing safe atmosphere in his room, where all students could feel free to question and learn and laugh. He set an enviable example for his peers. He didn't serve us this way for only a few years, he did it for decades, retiring this year after 40 years of service.
I can't believe there exists another person who deserves to be honored more than this man. No one could have given more of his time, his guidance, his understanding, his concern. No one could have given more of himself. There is only one Starr Baker and it is with the utmost of respect that I wish to nominate him for "Looking to Honor One of Our Own."
Carol K. Cain