Say Hello To Jeffrey Baier, Superintendent, Los Altos School District
Jeffrey Baier, Superintendent in the Los Altos School District, inspires a passion for learning in students and staff. With more than 20 years of experience in education, Jeff has served students as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, spanning elementary through middle school, all within the Los Altos and Mountain View School Districts in California. He is passionate about improving learning experiences for students and has challenged the status quo in a top performing public school district to ensure students are prepared for their futures. Jeff was among the first to develop blended learning environments with Khan Academy and has led the effort to bring numerous innovative programs to LASD. When not focused on schools, you can find Jeff with his family, with his camera, at a lacrosse field, or all three simultaneously.
SVT: What has your career path been like that has led and prepared you to where you are now?
JB: I didn’t start my career intending to teach, but I found working with children and helping them to learn new skills very fulfilling. I also found I enjoyed the challenge of finding the best methods for teaching and working to refine and improve those methods through research, collaboration and observation. I taught in the middle school setting and thoroughly enjoyed my work. There is great satisfaction helping students understand what is possible. My role as a teacher also gave me great insight into realizing that even greater impacts on the student learning experience was possible through leadership. As a school principal, I took great pride in helping teachers and students accomplish what they set out to do: teach and learn. I am not sure any of these roles prepared me for my current role. Surely the experiences gave me insights into educating children and supporting those who teach them in the classrooms, but i believe the greatest preparation has been the flexibility and adaptation that has been required of me in each of the roles I have served.
SVT: What did you teach and for how long? Now, what are your functions and responsibilities?
JB: I taught for six years at Graham Middle School in Mountain View. During that time I primarily taught students English and history, but have experience teaching mathematics as well. Twenty-four years later in my role as superintendent of schools my primary responsibility is leading the Los Altos School District in providing an exemplary education for our 4,600+ students. I work with a dynamic team of school leaders and teachers who are passionate about providing the very best learning experiences for their students.
SVT: How are creativity and innovative thinking used on a daily basis as you see it in and out of the classroom?
JB: Innovation and creativity are essential to the future success of our students and we are working to embed these approaches into the everyday student learning experiences in Los Altos School District. In addition to the student experience, we are fostering these approaches within our organization in all aspects of our work. We are challenging ourselves to question the status quo either to validate current practices or to improve upon an already high-functioning organization. Modeling these approaches with both our teachers and our leadership team has made an impact for our students by communicating through action that we are an organization that values risk-taking and striving to continuously improve our work.
SVT: What excites and encourages you today where you are, what you are doing and what you are seeing?
JB: My excitement each day comes from witnessing what is happening in our classrooms and at our schools. The passion with which students are approaching their learning, the ownership they are taking, and the creativity they are displaying is truly amazing. I could not be more impressed with our teachers and the learning opportunities they are providing our students. They have taken risks in challenging their thinking over the past several years and our students have responded. The possibilities are limitless.