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Teacher Succeeds in Any Language

Greenwich High School's Rita Baker, who has 35 years of teaching under her belt, has been named a finalist in Connecticut's 2011 Teacher of the Year Program. "Rita Baker is a master teacher, a respected and admired colleague, and she has a talent for engaging students in the study of world languages," GHS Headmaster Chris Winters said. "We are very proud of Rita."

Baker, a charismatic world languages instructor who has been teaching at the GHS since 1975, is one of four finalists in the state. The selection process includes an interview and an onsite visit to GHS this week. One of Baker's duties as a finalist is to serve as an "ambassador for public education" in the state. According to the state website , the finalists will be consultants to the education commissioner and be placed on advisory committees. They will address various schools and universities, speak at conferences and meetings, and plan and conduct workshops. The winner will be announced the week of Oct. 11.

"I was impressed by her ability to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of each of her students," said Sidney A. Freund, superintendent of schools.

A longtime Greenwich resident and graduate of GHS, Baker makes a commitment to each of her students, regardless of their level. Frau Baker, as many call her, began as an English as a Second Language and French teacher. She started the first ESL program at the high school and developed the curriculum for a multilevel program. In 1983, she became a German teacher and has been known to add life to the coursework and help those who are struggling.

"I know she will represent Greenwich and the state well in her role as a finalist," said Winters. "We wish her the best of luck as the selection process for State Teacher of the Year continues."

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