Baker selected as Fine Arts Teacher of the Year nominee

He pulls out a gun, aims and fires at his students. The styrofoam bullet lands on the face of the poor innocent child. There is no match for Mr. Baker’s Nerf gun.

And that’s why choir director Mark Baker was one of this year’s nominees for Teacher of the Year.

Many would say that Mr. Baker has unconventional teaching methods, like the nerf gun, but his techniques have been praised. According to Mrs. Freeman, the assistant choir director, he cares a great deal about his students, not just in Choir, but in their other classes, too. He uses laughter to motivate his students. Each student has a different way of learning. He finds ways to make connections and in doing so, finds out what makes them tick.

“His positive spirit is contagious,” Freeman said. “That is what makes him so successful in his choir career. That and really hard work.”

Baker has been teaching for 33 years, 10 of which he has spent at Denton High School.

“I’m honored to be nominated for teacher of the year,” Baker said. It’s great to know that I’m appreciated.”

He is the youngest out of 3 children and is the son of a pastor. His wife, Dr. Vicky Baker, is the head of the music program at TWU.

Baker gives and receives respect from his students. He provides challenges, and expects nothing but the best. He allows his students freedoms, but also expects them to be responsible.

“Mr. Baker has made me look forward to Choir ever since middle school,” four-year Choir student Nichole Thompson said. “Since I was in high school, he has improved my musicianship and made me fall in love with music even more and never let it go.”

The Denton High School Choir has won multiple awards during his tenure. In 2006 they won the American Choral Directory Association, National Honor Choir and they were the Grand Champs at Winter Park. They have performed in Missouri, St. Paul’s in England, West point military academy, Stephan’s in Austria as well as the St. Patrick cathedral in Ireland.

“When we sang ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ at the St. Patrick Cathedral, Mr. Baker was directing us in tears. It was a moment that we all realized just how powerful this moment was. What a great choir we are thanks to our great director Mr. Baker”. Senior Abby Bryant said.