Ms. Darienne Martin-Baker, lovingly referred to as “Ms. Dee” by staff and students, sparks joy. As a High School Assistant Teacher, she’s an all-time favorite for VTO’s, frequently full of infectious energy, and honestly great hugs. She’s a bit like a school mascot here at Sierra School at Barrett in a uniform of overalls and Birkenstocks.

When we asked students, “What makes Ms.Dee great?” Most said she’s welcoming, friendly, and patient. Sierra School at Barrett staff shares similar sentiments. Tommy our program coordinator for the middle and high school says, “She’s the bright spot of all my days. I’m so lucky to know her.” Over the course of this school year, we’ve all seen Ms.Dee be a cheerleader for her students. Ms.Tiffee, our middle and high school social worker says, “Dee is always encouraging, she puts all of our children above herself and focuses on what they need. She has a heart for our children and wants to understand and help them.”

Ms. Dee doesn’t limit her time and effort to just high school students either. She’s one of the first to assist elementary school classrooms when help is needed throughout the day. Ms.Jess, an elementary teacher at Barrett says, “She helps out our class daily. She’s great at de-escalation and she is the best I’ve seen at redirection.

Both Mr.S and Ms.Tegel, her co-teachers in high school, were happy to share how much they appreciate Ms.Dee. Mr. S says, “She does all the point sheets, she does all the IR’s, she has her own system of filing. She’s a tough one. She really loves the kids and she comes here for the kids. Even when she has come in and said she’s having a bad day, she’s like, “It’s okay because as soon as the kids get here it’ll all be okay.” Ms.Tegel says, “Dee is a silent warrior. She never asks for recognition but is always there for the kids no matter what. She has stuck through some crazy stuff in 105 this year and has supported me in ways I will always be thankful for. She brings such great insight into managing the student’s behaviors and supporting them positively.

This month specifically, she has been so flexible with changing plans and always comes to the classroom with great ideas. She shows the students day in and day out about how to be calm, consistent, and confident. She deserves all the recognition in the world for all the hard work she has not only put into our classroom but the whole school.

Dee joined our team in August 2018 and has been an exceptional employee and asset to our team. She has not only been an outstanding Assistant Teacher but also seamlessly jumped into the role of Lead Teacher for our Primary grade classroom for an entire semester. Dee’s flexibility and ability to be a great team player make her a first to be requested with student behavior across the wide age ranges from Kindergarten to High School students. Her variety of skills and talents including fantastic de-escalation skills, behavior management, and instructional strategies, make her a complete package for our program!

Her co-teacher Ms.Tegel says, “There are so many reasons why she should be the staff of the month, but for me, it’s her ability to be persistent. No matter what is going on she shows up and not only helps our class but the whole school. Beloved by staff and students alike, Ms.Dee has a unique talent for building community and reminding us that we function best as a team.

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