• Oct. 12, 2017

    Retired USC curriculum leader honored with lifetime achievement award

    Deanna Baird Retired Upper St. Clair High School World Languages Curriculum Leader Deanna Baird was recently honored with the W. LaMarr Kopp Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pennsylvania Council for International Education.

    Awarded annually at PACIE’s conference, the Kopp Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania who has demonstrated longstanding excellence, commitment and leadership in the field of international education.

    Ms. Baird, who retired from Upper St. Clair School District in 2016, received this recognition at the joint conference of the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association and the Pennsylvania Council for International Education, which was held Oct. 5-7 in Hershey.

    “As a member of USCHS' faculty, Frau Baird was the epitome of lead learner — she spent her career advancing her own knowledge, skills, and cultural competence in order to share with others, both colleagues and students, the value of international mindedness,” Dr. Timothy Wagner, associate principal for program planning and innovation, said. “Deanna possesses an ability to help others see multiple perspectives while simultaneously valuing the voice of all people.”

    During her 43 years of teaching, Ms. Baird taught German at all levels in grades 6-12, created and taught an international studies course, and also served as world language curriculum leader K-12 for 23 years. She established Upper St. Clair’s elementary Spanish program, instituted department oral proficiency testing and interviews, and led the effort to create district-wide student electronic language and cultural proficiency portfolios.

    “Deanna is an incredibly passionate educator who was able to influence our school and community. Her passion ignited student interest and drew colleagues close,” Dr. Louis Angelo, Upper St. Clair High School principal, said. “She is overwhelmingly deserving of the award, and I consider myself fortunate to have served with her.”

    Believing in the necessity of a strong international focus, Ms. Baird advocated for the district’s K-12 International Baccalaureate program, implemented and led an interdisciplinary team during the annual school-wide International Education Week, and helped to develop a Global Fluency Certificate for students. She also began and led a German exchange for 23 years, which also resulted in departmental exchanges in French and Spanish, trips to Spain, Peru, Italy/Greece, and Japan, and school-wide teacher trips to the German partner school.

    “She worked consistently and tirelessly to enhance the world language experience in Upper St. Clair School District, Pittsburgh, and the Commonwealth over her 43-year career in public education,” Dr. Wagner said. “All those who experienced Frau Baird's leadership and care see the world a bit more clearly today.”

    In addition, Ms. Baird co-authored two books for PSMLA and has presented on language and international topics at the local, state and national levels. Finally, she co-founded and is president of the Cultural Communications Alliance, which facilitates international marketing competitions for students.

    Ms. Baird served as a co-presenter during the conference with Bethany Chase, Upper St. Clair High School French teacher. Their session, titled, “Boost World Languages and Global Skills with High School International Studies Course,” included a brief overview of Upper St. Clair High School’s international studies course that teaches cross-cultural competencies and promotes world language experiences.

    Related article: