BEHIND THE APPLE: Amy Baldwin, Oakbrook Middle School
Amy Baldwin, 35, grew up in Summerville. She went to Summerville Elementary School, Rollings for grades four and five then Oakbrook Middle School. She graduated from Fort Dorchester High School. Now she is back at Oakbrook Middle School … teaching.
In her 14th year of teaching Baldwin is starting a new program at Oakbrook this year: Gateway to Technology, which includes both engineering and robotics.
A graduate of Charleston Southern, she has taught math for the past 13 years. However, she is bubbling over about the possibilities her new program will provide. As a Gateway program it will prepare her students for Project Lead the Way at the high school level.
Her sixth and seventh grade students will learn engineering using a Computer Assisted Design software suite. Her seventh and eighth grade students will learn robotics. Sounds a far cry from math but, actually, it is all math based.
Robotics, she says, is all about coding. Students will learn to write computer code and, using Legos, will build their own robots. But that’s another story.
Baldwin has always taught at Oakbrook, she says. She is a Dorchester District Two girl through and through.
And, it’s a family affair. Her mom – Janice Wolfe – also teaches at Oakbrook teaching sixth grade language arts.
And Baldwin (and her mother) has certainly made her mark on the school. In 2001 she was the Rookie Teacher of the Year, the same year her mom was named Teacher of the Year. Then, in 2011, she was named a District Teacher of the Year…the same year her son was born.
Having an active two-year-old doesn’t seem to slow her down though. She is the coach for the Math Counts Team, manages the Robotics Team and the First Lego League as well as the Dimension U. Team (an online math video game sponsored through Spawar – engineering and defense contractors).
And, at one point in her tenure, she was the B-Team cheerleading coach for five years.
Her son, Ethan, is in Gateway Academy nearby. He was born nine weeks early, she says, and spent 83 days at MUSC.
“He is an awesome little miracle…healthy as a horse…you’d never know he was a preemie.”
“I just love school,” she says, “and anytime a student finally understands the complex information I am teaching…the day that happens…it is a great day.”
The bad days, she says, are the days when she sees a kid having a really bad day – “it might not be school-related,” she says, “but all you can really do is listen…you can’t fix it…it breaks my heart.”
When she is not at school she says she is “chasing around a two-year-old.”
“We like to go to parks and my family and I are huge sports fans…I am a die hard Gamecock fan [USC].”
Baldwin also enjoys making cards and scrapbooking she says. Married to Carter who is a Mt. Pleasant police officer, she says her biggest enjoyment is spending time with her family.
“I come from a huge family, my husband does not…we are a bit overwhelming.”
She and her husband enjoy going to the movies together, and just relaxing, being laid back.
“He works shift work so when we have time together we just like to relax.
Currently, she says, they live in Charleston. “The house came with the husband,” she laughs.
But, she says, by the time Ethan is ready for school they will be living in DD2. There is no room for negotiation on that topic. He will be going to a DD2 school and, if one might guess, to Oakbrook Elementary and Oakbrook Middle …?
She and Carter have been married for six years and, along with Ethan, they share their life with Hank, a rescue dog.
“I have no idea what breed Hank is.”
Baldwin plans to teach for “as long as she has the energy.
“School becomes your family too,” she says, “you bond together.”