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.
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. After working as Theresa’s assistant a second year, Debi became a lead teacher in 2015. Last year she and Eileen Fell became co-teachers of Classroom 3.
During her practicum year, Debi created a poetry curriculum that included haiku writing for Kindergarten students. She now leads a once-a-week Writers’ Workshop for Kindergarteners and a Readers’ Workshop for Casa students.
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 private schools. Both her daughters have lived abroad; the younger taught in Mexico for three years and the elder lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
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. Her daughter Stella (our first staff kid!) is entering her second year at Clementine.