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Parkway Teacher Named Elementary String Educator of the Year

Sandra Baker, strings teacher at Highcroft Ridge and Pierremont Elementary in the Parkway School District, has been selected as the Missouri elementary strings educator of the year. She will be honored at the Missouri State Music Educators Association conference January 25-26 in Osage Beach, Missouri. Baker has also been invited to present at the American String Teachers Association national conference this March in Detroit where she will share what she has learned about classroom management and more effective teaching. "I believe that every child can learn and that every child deserves the very best from the beginning," states Baker. "It has been my conscious decision to work at the elementary level and not pursue other positions. It is very gratifying to be recognized and honored in this way." Sandra Baker has taught over 20 years in Parkway. She presently teaches third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in the districts elementary orchestra program. She also taught Suzuki violin for nine years for the St. Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts. As a charter member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas she has presented at national conferences, been an area coordinator for the "Suzuki in the Schools" portion of the 2004 national conference, and been published in the Suzuki Journal. Baker is honored that former students are now current orchestra directors, and that student teachers she has mentored are now teaching successfully in our communities. She is particularly delighted that her daughter is teaching in her first job with such passion, creativity and joy. In addition to teaching, Sandra has been a freelance professional violinist for over 30 years. This helps to maintain her sense of musicianship and to serve as a model for her students. She is a founding member of the Heritage String Quartet, and is a professional member of the Washington University Orchestra, where she has been a section leader and principal player.