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Alumni Spotlight

Read about the inspiring lives and careers of our alumni who leveraged their RMS education as a launching pad for success in various fields! Each month we “spotlight” an RMS alumnus. Take a moment to read about our featured alum!

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Anna East Baldwin photoProfile- Anna East BaldwinAugust 2017: Alumni Spotlight

Anna East Baldwin’86
English & Native American Studies Teacher, Flathead Reservation
2014 Montana Teacher of the Year
Arlee, Montana

If you are still in school, where are you attending school (high school or college)?

I’m not…but I graduated from Trinity Episcopal School (1990); Georgetown University (1994); University of Montana – master’s in English Teaching (1999); and University of Montana – doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction (2012)

If you are in the working world, what are you doing and where are you working?

I’m a high school English and Native American Studies teacher on the Flathead Reservation in Arlee, Montana. I’ve been teaching here for 18 years and have earned many honors, such as being named the 2014 Montana Teacher of the Year. In May 2014 I had the honor of visiting the White House and meeting President Obama, along with many other exciting experiences. I’m also currently a US Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow, working part-time, directly with the Secretary of Education as well as colleagues in the Department to extend teacher voice and advocate for the education profession.

Do you think your time at RMS helped you to pursue this? If yes, how?

I have always considered myself a “Montessori kid.” As I’ve grown older I realize I’m not who I am because of Montessori, but that it allowed me to explore boundaries and stretch myself in ways I might not have, had I attended a traditional school. I can clearly remember certain experiences, such as assembling our RMS literary magazine (Quill and Scroll) where the teacher gave us latitude to make our own decisions and mistakes. In 8th grade we planned our entire trip to Washington DC (without the internet). For me as an adult I do not easily accept “no” and constantly strive to find ways to realize my visions. As a classroom teacher in a traditional public school this includes all kinds of student projects and is reflected in the way I teach: with a lot of self-guided work. I want my students to trust themselves and look for ways to solve problems.

What was your most memorable moment as a student?

Junior class. Middle Ages project, where we all made a different kind of building or community. Mine was the cathedral. Not only did our group make the best small-scale building, but I learned a ton: about flying buttresses, notably, as well as the shape and symbolism of a medieval cathedral.

Are you still friends with anybody you met at RMS?

Yes, even almost 40 years later. One of the first friends I made at age 6 was a little girl with the same birthday as me. That was in September 1978 and we are still friends now. Four or five others have reunited on Facebook and continue to keep up.

Describe RMS in 3 words.

Freedom, kindness, intrinsic motivation

What is your lasting impression of RMS?

It is a place I am indebted to have gone. It nurtured my inner need to learn, my almost obsessive desire to start and finish projects, and a reflective condition that has helped me be a better mom, teacher, and person.