COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Sally Baker won’t be the Springer Opera House’s director of education for much longer, as she will soon be the STEAM program specialist for the Georgia Department of Education’s STEAM program, according to a press release from the theater space.
Baker has led children’s educational activities at the Springer for the past eight years. These include Springer Theatre Academy, Springer Children’s Theatre, Theatre for the Very Young, ArtServe and Professional Arts Integration Resource (PAIR), an arts integration training program for teachers that helps them incorporate music, art, dance and drama into their curricula.
According to Springer Opera House, Georgia Department of Education’s STEAM administrators noticed Baker’s innovations with PAIR.
“STEAM education is an approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts and math to guide student inquiry, discussion and problem-solving,” says the press release. “STEAM learning provides the ‘why’ behind learning and makes school engaging while building skills for college, careers and the 21st century workplace.”
Baker will be the only arts-based STEAM specialist in the state of Georgia.
“I’m excited to take my experiences in arts integration to every corner of my home state,”
Baker said. “As a STEAM Specialist, I will guide and coach Georgia schools in STEAM teaching and learning, especially with the tools and understanding of arts integration. I will work with the
STEAM director and specialists to certify K-12 schools with STEAM distinction, a multi-year
process that shifts learning to an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes creativity,
innovation and authentic learning experiences.”
“We will surely miss Sally’s positive energy, innovative outlook and creativity,” said Springer Producing Artistic Director Paul Pierce. “I’ve known Sally for 34 years. In fact, I directed her
in a 1989 production of the Broadway musical, ‘Annie,’ in which she played the title role. She
was ten years old at the time.”
Baker will be based in Columbus but travel to serve all Georgia counties. She will begin her new job in mid-October. The Springer will continue to provide all of its usual of education services.
“Sally has developed a cadre of brilliant leaders in our education department,” Pierce said. “These leaders are ready to take the Springer to the next level and capitalize on the
relationships which Sally has fostered over the years.”
“I sincerely believe that the arts are transformative in children’s lives,” Baker said. “This new
position will multiply the opportunities I have to advocate for arts education and provide a
megaphone for the Springer’s philosophy of ‘Life Skills Through Stage Skills’ across the entire
Baker started participating with the Springer almost forty years ago as a child. Since then, the press release says she has been “an actor, teacher, director and administrator for the State
Theatre of Georgia.”
Baker graduated from Hardaway High School and attended the University of
Georgia, studying secondary English education and theatre. She earned her masters of fine
arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on drama and theatre for youth.
“Sally has ten years of public school teaching experience and has worked for theatre companies in the San Francisco area, Nashville, Austin, Texas and Ohio,” says the press release. “She and her husband, Brad, have two children and live in Columbus.”