Baker Faculty: Leaders in Education

For teachers and school leaders to be effective in their methods, they continually expand their knowledge and skills to implement the best educational practices.  Educators learn from each other so they can help students learn at the highest levels.

Baker has a long standing tradition of educating other teachers and is a nationally respected leader in progressive education.  Continuing this history of mentorship, several Baker faculty members will be presenting at key National Conferences again this year.

Presentations included:

Progressive Education Network National Conference in Boston:

  • Carly Andrews, Head of School, “Fueling Change through Partnership: Models for Developing Budget-Conscious Equity and Inclusivity Programming for Students and Faculty.”

Independent Schools Association of the Central States Annual Conference in Chicago:

  • Tiffany Rampey, 4th Grade, “Empowering Students through Emergent Curriculum”
  • Jamee Guerra, Music, “Everyone Makes Music: Composition as a Pathway to Learning”*
  • Stefanie Gehrig, 3rd Grade, “Service Learning: Inquiry-based, Collaborative & Multi-Aged”*

National Art Education Annual Conference  in Seattle:

  • Julie Toole, Art, “What’s wrong with STEAM?  Why teaching disciplines don’t work if creativity is the goal”
  • Julie Toole, Art, “Choice Art Demo Room, Teaching for Artistic Behaviors”*

Inspiring Nature Play: Innovations Annual Conference at Chicago Botanic Gardens:

  • Jessy Zich and Tracy Aiden, Kindergarten, “Hatching Chicks…a Kindergarten project”

*Faculty co-presenting with colleagues from other schools.


Baker also maintains strong partnerships with leading universities, education centers and teacher mentorship programs.  Below is a list of noteworthy collaborations taken place this year:

Northwestern Graduate School of Education:

October:  NU students explored Baker PreK-5 classrooms; Division Coordinator, Merle Scharmann, then visited their class for further discussion about early childhood pedagogy.

January:  Baker teachers Jane Rothschild, Rachel Sun, Tyler Leach and Merle Scharmann delivered a panel presentation on Curriculum Development in Progressive practice titled “Applications in the Baker Classroom.

April:  Graduate Students from the Language Arts Methods class will observe and  teach a lesson in select Baker classrooms.

May:  Graduate Students from the Elementary Social Studies Methods class will observe and teach a mini-lesson in Baker classrooms.

Chicago Jewish Day School:  Baker Kindergarten teachers Tracy Aiden and Jessy Zich welcomed Kindergarten teachers from CJDS to Baker for a workshop and conversation about Progressive practice utilizing the approach of the Schools of Reggio Emilia.

Crossroads for Learning:  Baker will collaborate with Crossroads for Learning to co-host an Educators Conference at Baker on May 9.  Renowned Reggio Emilia instructor Tiziana Filippini will present. This conference will welcome 150 Early Childhood educators from the Chicago Metro area.

Julie Toole, Baker Art Teacher, led a two day Professional Development experience for PreK-12 Art Teachers in Sterling, Illinois entitled “Voice and Choice Teaching for Artistic Behaviors Principles in Action”

Jessy Zich and Tracy Aiden, Kindergarten, attended a week long immersion Study Group to visit the schools of Reggio Emilia in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Jessy Zich, Kindergarten, joined the Board of Chicago Commons, a group dedicated to supporting Chicagoland Early Childhood Teachers in the use of Reggio Emilia pedagogy in their individual contexts.