Andrew Baker, the longtime supervisor of the Bethlehem Central School District’s English Language Arts (ELA) department, is expected to be named principal of Slingerlands Elementary School. Baker will succeed Heidi Bonacquist as principal. Bonacquist is retiring in June.
Slingerlands Elementary School is one of five K-5 schools in the BC school district. It has a current enrollment of 443 students. The Board of Education is expected to appoint Baker at its next meeting on Wednesday, March 17.
Baker has spent his entire 25-year career in public education in Bethlehem. He began as a sixth-grade English and social studies teacher at the middle school in 1996. He became an administrative dean at the middle school before taking on the role of ELA supervisor nine years ago. As the department supervisor, Baker oversees the K-12 English curriculum, works with administrators in hiring instructional staff, and supports teachers throughout the district with any needs they have related to ELA curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
During the 2017-18 school year, Baker filled in as interim principal for eight months at Elsmere Elementary School.
That experience, he said, helped him gain a better understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of running an elementary school.
“During my time at Elsmere I learned a lot about how to support K-5 students academically,” said Baker. “Being there for nearly an entire school year helped me learn more about K-5 curriculum and to see first-hand how monitoring benchmark assessments and providing needed academic interventions can truly put students on the path to success.”
Baker holds a B.A. in English with a teaching certificate in secondary English from SUNY Geneseo. He received a master’s degree in education from SUNY Albany and an administrative certification (SDA) from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
“Andy Baker has been a valued member of our instructional team for many years and has done an outstanding job overseeing our ELA department, supporting teaching and learning throughout the district,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “Most importantly, he has earned the respect of all who have worked with him and I predict he will be a great leader at Slingerlands.”
Baker said he is excited to get to know everyone at Slingerlands.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the teachers, students, staff, and parents to uphold the legacy of educational excellence at Slingerlands,” said Baker. “My goal is to continue to foster a culture of learning, respect, service, and inclusion for all.”
Baker resides in Delmar with his family. His two sons — both graduates of BCHS — are current college students.