New principal: ‘I believe in relationships’

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Granville Junior/Senior High School interim principal Beecher Baker.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wanting to introduce the community to the newly appointed head of the high school level, NYVTmedia spoke by phone on Sept. 1 with Granville Junior/Senior High School interim principal Beecher Baker.

Baker, a Warrensburg native who spent four years in the Air Force in the Airborne Battalion, is a former assistant principal at Binghamton, principal at Fort Edward, Whitehall and Hadley-Luzerne and superintendent at Hadley-Luzerne. He was appointed interim principal by the Granville Board of Education in July.

When Baker is not in the principal’s office, he can be seen riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with his wife or supporting his high school-aged son.

The interim principal made it clear that he is thrilled to get back to work after one month of retirement and to establish connections with each student grades 7-12 with his “Triple-A” high energy and personable attitude focused on accountability and positivity.

Here are excerpts from the Q&A conversation.

Q. What drew you back to Washington County, specifically, Granville?

A. “Honestly, it was the opportunity for me to get back into building-level administration.”

Q. You were retired for roughly a month. Are you excited to get back into a school building and establish your presence with grades 7-12?

A. “My wife retired this past year and we had discussed retirement. I had also retired in July… the chance to get back into a high school setting interested me a lot. It’s something I couldn’t pass up.”

Q. Outside of work, who is Beecher Baker and what can we find him doing?

A. “You’re going to find me in the gym at 5 a.m. I get my workouts done in the morning to set the tone for the day.”

Q. The 2022-23 school year is the first in three years to not have an immediate concern or restrictions regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. What’s your take on the “return to normalcy” and how will this affect education at the JSHS level?

A. “It’s going to make it better, point blank. We don’t need all of the interruptions. The kids, they’ve lost so much. They want to be here!”

Q. Does the “interim” title affect your approach to how you will manage and interact with staff and students on a daily basis, or is it business as usual?

A. “It doesn’t mean anything to me, I’m here to do a job and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”

Q. What does the word “accountability” mean to you?

A. “That’s a great question. But I believe it’s standing up for what you believe in and doing your job.”

Q. We recently produced a story on the nationwide staffing shortage within schools. Do you have any take on this and any perspective on the future of teaching both in this country and state?

A. “A lot of times, they reference pay, and that’s certainly a part of it. But it’s a whole bunch of things… I think it’s really about giving the teachers the tools to be successful and backing them as much as possible.”

Q. What’s one thing people should know about you?

A. “I’m a relationship person. I believe in relationships and building relationships. Relationships build trust and accountability.”

Q. This Q&A will come out the day of the first day of school (Sept. 8). What are your expectations for the day and goals for this year?

A. I’m going to spend a lot of time with the kids. I’m going to meet with each grade throughout the day starting with seventh grade at first period and the seniors at the end of the day… And I expect to deliver expectations for this year from each other. I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m excited to be back in building-level administration and I’m excited to be working in Granville.”