15 Minutes


Resides: Marshalltown

Hometown: Riceville


Family: My husband Randy Baker and I have two adult sons. Ryan and his wife, Melody, of Des Moines and Brandon and his wife, Whitney, in Cedar Falls.

Pets: Abby, a 10-year-old Papillon.

Hobbies and interests: I enjoy baking, gardening, reading, scrap-booking and vacationing at the national parks.


Occupation: Special Education teacher at Rogers Elementary School.

What that means: I work with students that display behavior and academic concerns. I teach social skills, as well as teaching all academics. I have helped develop a program to meet the needs of students struggling with behavior/academics. Each year my goal is to provide extensive social skills instruction so every student will be successful in the classroom setting.

Tenure: This is my 27th year teaching students with behavior and academic concerns.

Best part of work or occupation: The best part about my job is building relationships with my students, parents of students and staff. By building relationships with my students they feel a sense of success and belonging. Building relationships with the parents of my students has been an important key to working together and keeping the lines of communication positive. As staff, we collaborate and build relationships so our students needs are met.

If I could change jobs I would: I’m not sure I could ever change jobs because I’ve always enjoyed what I do and the challenges presented each day. I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing I am helping better the lives of students.

Books: A favorite author is Torey Hayden. She is a child psychologist, special education teacher, lecturer and writer of non-fiction books based on her real-life experiences with teaching and counseling children with special needs. I find her writings are a lot like the work I do establishing relationships with my students.

Films: “Forrest Gump,” “Rain Man,” “October Sky,” and “Temple Grandin.”

Foods: Pizza, seafood, salads and Mexican dishes.


Best part of living here: The small town atmosphere and friendliness.

Most influential people: My husband, Randy, and my parents. Randy because he has always believed in being honest and he has always worked hard to support our family. He has instilled his honesty and work ethics in our children while they were growing up. My parents – they always taught me to look for the good in everything and that God should always be the center of all things.

Local involvement: I am a “big sister” to Alexis, 10, through Big Brothers and Big Sisters. We will celebrate our fourth anniversary of being matched in March. When our boys went off to college, I felt a void. I had heard about BB/BS and felt it was my calling. I’ve enjoyed every minute. Randy and I also help at our church.

Advice on life: “Live each day as if it’s your last” and no matter how rough things may seem we always need to keep our trust in God.

15 Minutes is a Saturday feature about central Iowans. The question and answer format lends itself be completed or read in 15 minutes or less. To submit a name for consideration, or to participate, contact Times-Republican Staff and Features Reporter Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com