Getting to Know Grand Erie is a new weekly feature that puts the spotlight on one of the many Grand Erie staff members working towards the goal of Success for Every Student. The Q&A series brings the staff member into focus by sharing – in their own words – the lessons they’ve learned in leadership, teamwork, and perseverance. Do you know someone who should be featured? Let us know! 

Wayne Baker
Superintendent of Education, Grand Erie District School Board

WayneBaker.jpgWhat’s the best part of your job?

Given the stage in my career, the best aspect of my job is that I’m here because I want to be. That’s a liberating way to be.

What was your first job, and what did it teach you?

A friend of mine once said – when explaining why he was attending university – “I want a job where the dirtiest I get is an ink stain on my shirt.” Likewise, my first job(s), which were totally menial, got me thinking that there are different levels of jobs; you have to find the one that suits you. There’s nothing wrong with any job, but if you want something different, you have to work to get there.

What motivates you?

Professionally, being impactful in a positive way is important; if I felt my job had no benefit, it might be challenging to show up for work every day. Personally, the well-being of my extended family right now is occupying my thoughts a lot, so being mindful is important.

What’s your favourite thing about working in Grand Erie?

It’s all about the people. I can’t count the number of folks I’ve met who are decent and hard-working and just want to know how best to help others.

How does your role contribute to Success for Every Student?

The students supported through Safe and Inclusive Schools are some of the most at-risk in our system; when I hear their backstories, I wonder how they get out of bed some days. I marvel at the connections the Safe Schools team makes with these kids, and am honoured to be part of that team.

What’s a skill or talent you possess that might surprise people?

I used to be relatively proficient at martial arts… and ballroom dancing. You’d be surprised how often those trainings have come in handy!

Best advice you received?

Enjoy the journey, because you might not like the destination.

Best advice you have given?

The value is in the conversation.

What’s been your most important lesson learned during the pandemic?

I’m in awe of the resilience shown by some folks who have experienced challenges that would have been unimaginable even a year ago. At the same time, I’ve become more aware of my own privilege during these times.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy spending time outside… chainsaw therapy is one of my favourite pastimes.

Photos by Grand Erie Communications

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