Story provided by Stillwater Public Schools
Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education welcomed its newest member to its meetings this week. Following his Ward 5 victory in April 6 School Board elections, Dr. Marshall Baker was sworn in at the Board’s Tuesday, April 13 meeting.
A graduate of Texico High School in Texico, New Mexico, Baker received an Agricultural Education and Communication degree from the University of Florida. He first came to Stillwater in 2010 to pursue a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education. He then went to work for the school district in 2011, serving as Principal at Lincoln Academy and Stillwater Junior High School, each for one year. Baker then transitioned to working in teacher preparation at OSU.
Previously serving on the Board, Baker represented Ward 2 for a little over a year, before stepping down due to a move to North Carolina for a new job. “Leaving Stillwater was a big regret, especially so soon into my time on the Board,” Baker said. “But sometimes your career takes you places you don’t expect. Along the way we learned that Stillwater is home. It’s where we belong.”
Baker returned to Stillwater and currently works as a Senior Consultant for MAYA consulting, an educational consulting firm that supports districts in the region. He and wife Robyn, who works as General Counsel for the OSU Foundation, are the proud parents of two Westwood Eagles, Grey, 8, and Crew, 6.
“Public schools are an ecosystem,” said Baker. “And I have a lot of experience in different sectors of that ecosystem. Knowing education from so many different angles is going to be helpful in my role on the Board.” School districts nationally are facing some of the biggest educational challenges ever said Baker, with funding challenges, a national shortage of teachers, and now dealing with the effects of a pandemic.
“We have to work together as a board, as a district, and as a community to rebuild trust within our relationships,” said Baker. “All of us want this to be the best district in the region. We need to work hard to get our kids back where they need to be academically, socially, and emotionally.” Baker is also concerned about education legislation happening at the state level, stating that SPS will need to be focused on the budget and forward thinking in its spending.
“As a parent, and as a former SPS employee, I have deep relationships in this community,” said Baker “I’m excited to be back on the Board and back to serve the community as I promised to when I was first elected to it.”
Baker wasn’t the only one on the April 6 ballot. Dr. Camille DeYong, currently serving as Board President, was reelected for Ward 1, marking her 3rd time to serve on the Board. “I am honored to be elected and to serve another 5 years,” she said. DeYong was appointed to the Board in 2013, and ran unopposed in 2016.
DeYong is deeply rooted in Stillwater. She is a Stillwater High School grad and holds three degrees from Oklahoma State University – a math education bachelor’s, along with master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering and management.
DeYong started her career teaching high school math for three years. After receiving her master’s, she worked in industry for two years, but decided teaching was her passion and returned to OSU to work on her doctoral degree. She retired in August of 2020, after spending 26 years serving as faculty in Industrial Engineering and Management at OSU. She has two daughters, Shannon and Sarah, both Stillwater grads.
DeYong is excited to continue her work on the Board. “I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Baker again. He’s an energetic, smart and creative person who will bring a lot of experience and ideas to the board. I can’t say enough good things about our teachers, administrators, and staff getting us through this hectic year. They met every challenge they faced and consistently went above and beyond,” she said.
Empowering those teachers is one of her primary goals. “Teachers and staff are the ones who develop the relationships with kids that change lives,” DeYong says. “I would love to see a reduction in standardized testing and a return to the joy of learning.”
“I know this district can be the premiere district in the region and even the country – the district of choice,” says DeYong. “We face challenges both short term and long. We have to get kids caught up if they missed out. We have to regain trust and rebuild relationships with families. There is legislation that is going to have a lasting impact. We’re already thinking about ways to manage our budgets and adjust to those changes.”
She’s confident SPS is up to the challenge. “SPS consistently performs well academically,” she says. “And I’m proud of the strides the district has made in the arts and music and toward becoming a trauma sensitive school district. Our teachers, staff, administrators, and our students and their families are second to none.”
Dr. Marc Moore, Superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools said, “I am looking forward to continuing to work with Camille and working again with Marshall. Both bring years of experience in education and serving on the Stillwater Board of Education. I’m confident they will both continue to make valuable contributions to the district.”
In addition to welcoming DeYong back to the Board and swearing in Baker, the Board elected a President and Vice President for the next year. DeYong will serve as President, with Tim Reilly in the Vice President seat.