FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce
honors elementary school classroom teacher
HILTON HEAD – A veteran classroom teacher has been honored as the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce’s “Sue West Educator of the Year.”
Mary Baker, who teaches at Hilton Head Island Elementary School, was recognized for influencing generations of children in the Lowcountry as well as for her innovative teaching style and continued dedication to education. Baker received the award Saturday night at the chamber’s annual ball.
Since 1974, Baker has taught a variety of grade levels, including middle and high school students, and has extensive training to teach gifted and talented students, students whose first language isn’t English and students with special needs. She is Hilton Head Island Elementary’s current Teacher of the Year.
Raised in Bluffton, Baker has done volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and also helps train therapy dogs.
“Her passion for kids, her passion for the teaching profession and her constant innovations in the classroom are extraordinary,” said Hilton Head Island Elementary School Principal Sarah Owen. “She’s just as enthusiastic today as I’m sure she was when she first started teaching back in 1974.”
The award is named for Sue West, a science teacher who moved from Camden to Hilton Head in the 1980s and taught at May River Academy, which later merged with Sea Pines Academy to become Hilton Head Preparatory School. West continued teaching during a battle with cancer that began when she was diagnosed at age 28 and ended with her death in 1995 at the age of 42. The proposal for a chamber award named in her honor was born during West’s memorial service.