Move to Mastery: Brittney Baker
Assistant Principal of Instruction
Hardy Williams Elementary
NYC to PHL
Brittney Baker is the latest addition to the Mastery family at Hardy Williams Elementary leadership team, serving as the Assistant Principal of Instruction. Brittney previously served as the Founding Dean of Curriculum at a charter school in Bronx, New York, and has held several teaching positions in her home state of North Carolina, where she was originally placed with Teach for America. What she thought would be a two-year stint, education has become a career of passion for Brittany. Learn more about Brittany in this Move to Mastery.
Tell us more about yourself and your background in education.
I attended Spelman College and I minored in education there. I always knew I loved kids and worked in a ton of schools, but I was never planning to go into education full-time. After graduation, Teach for America (TFA) was actively recruiting. I was sold on their mission – “to close the achievement gap,” and knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of. I was placed an hour from where I grew up in North Carolina, and it was eye opening to see how different the student experience was. I had intended to do the required two years for TFA and then continue onto graduate school, but I could never leave education after that experience.
What made you choose Mastery?
Mastery’s mission and vision drew me to the school. Once I saw it, I read it and said it aloud. It spoke to my own goals as an educator. You could tell that building meaningful relationships with kids and their families was of the utmost importance to the teachers and the staff.
The onboarding process was one of the best processes I’ve ever been through. Instead of just answering questions, they made it an interactive experience and I was able to showcase how I work in a live demo environment. If needed, they offer reimbursements for travel. Throughout the entire process, I felt that I was being cared for and that they were invested in making sure that I felt supported and comfortable.
Why should someone consider a Move to Mastery?
You should come to Mastery because they welcome you with open arms, they genuinely value people, and they work to create a family environment for all. Everyone has been sweet and welcoming since I’ve joined – they’ve checked in on me, made sure that I met people (via email) and even offered scheduling a socially-distanced walk to connect offline. As for the kids and their families, I’ve seen the teachers and staff step up to support students in tremendous ways, outside of their job descriptions: a teacher handwriting cards for students and the school working together to coordinate a fundraiser to go grocery shopping for families. This is all normal for the teachers and staff; they support the students and their families without even thinking about it.
As a member of the Mastery family, you’re offered so much support. I was connected immediately to a mentor through the central office, but I’ve also been introduced to my counterparts at other schools. The staff work together with the social workers and the principal to create one team, with one mission.