After four decades as a journalist, including 33 years at the Philadelphia Daily News, Debi Baker left her job as features editor to pursue a new career as a Montessori teacher.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Debi graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in journalism. Her first newspaper jobs took her to Kansas, New Mexico, and New York before she landed her dream job at the Philadelphia Daily News.
She first learned about Montessori education as a reporter assigned to do a story about a new Montessori lab school at the University of Kansas. What she saw there encouraged her to find a Montessori preschool for her daughters when they were born years later in Philadelphia. Both girls attended the now-defunct University City Montessori School in West Philadelphia through kindergarten, and Debi served on the school’s board of directors.
In 2012 she left newspapering and enrolled in Chestnut Hill College’s Montessori teacher training program. In 2013, Debi joined Clementine as an assistant teacher in Theresa Lipinski’s class and earned her Montessori teacher certification.
Over the past two years, Debi created a Kindergarten poetry curriculum that included haiku writing. She spearheaded Clementine’s service learning project, helping students learn about world hunger and studying the relationship between man and animals, focusing on worms and chickens, alpacas and honeybees. She coordinated two fund-raising events for Heifer International, a living gift market in the fall and a used children’s book fair in the spring.
Debi is part of a family of teachers. Her husband is an instrumental music teacher for the Philadelphia School District and her daughter and son-in-law teach in Philadelphia charter schools. Both her daughters have lived abroad; the younger taught in Mexico for three years and the elder has lived and worked in Berlin, Germany for the past five years.
Co-Lead Teacher & Art Teacher
Eileen’s formal education and life-long passion is in visual arts—photography to be precise. After teaching college and high school for many years, Eileen received her Montessori Teacher Assistant training at The Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS) and has worked as an assistant teacher at another local Montessori school. Eileen also teaches Art at Clementine, merging her passion for educating children and her talents in fine arts and creative expression. However, Eileen is happiest when she is helping children to create and learn. Eileen has recently finished her Primary certification and will be joining forces with Mrs. Baker as Co-Lead Teacher this year while her daughter Stella joins Clementine as the school’s first staff kid.