Baker hires two new teachers for 2017-2018 year

Two new teachers have been hired by the Baker School District to teach second grade.

By Angel Wyrwas

Two new teachers have been hired by the Baker School District to teach second grade.

Ashley Schwartz

Twenty four year old Ashley Schwartz will begin her first full year as a teacher in Lincoln Elementary School. “I’m so excited about teaching the children new things they don’t know,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz grew up in Glendive and attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings after high school. She has twin brothers that are currently attending Rocky. “Even though I always dreamed of becoming a teacher when I was a little girl,” said Schwartz, “I began college as a business major.”

“I was so bored at school. The business classes just weren’t interesting,” said Schwartz. Then she had a human development class for a general education requirement that changed everything. “We had to go to a Head Start classroom to observe and as soon as I walked in the room a little boy ran up and attached himself to me,” said Schwartz. “I knew I had to switch majors.”

It took a bit longer for her to get her degree but Schwartz says it was definitely worth it. College became interesting and exciting. “Classes were better and as a cheerleader for football and basketball I was volunteering in the schools,” said Schwartz. She graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.

Schwartz student taught with Patty Chester at Lincoln Elementary from January through Easter. Then she had the opportunity to be a full time substitute teaching technology and study skills classes until the end of the school year.

Schwartz has a five year old chocolate lab named Dungey that she loves to spoil. She also loves DIY crafting and spending time with friends and family. “My parents own some storage units in Baker. My dad works for Food Service of America and comes to Baker every Tuesday so I’m able to meet him for lunch,” said Schwartz.

“I’m very happy to have my own classroom now and that I can make an impact on children’s lives,” said Schwartz.


Sheila O’Connor

Sheila O’Connor, 35, will also be teaching second grade at Lincoln Elementary. O’Connor grew up in Idaho and Utah. She started college at BYU Idaho and transferred to Montana State University in Bozeman. O’Connor played basketball and participated in rodeo at both schools. “I played most basketball positions throughout the years and competed in team roping and breakaway in rodeo,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education after completing her student teaching in Plevna. She met Dirk O’Connor at school and they married after graduation.

They moved to Plevna where Dirk ranched and she began teaching in the Plevna School. “I taught for five years. Sixth, fourth and second grades, whatever they needed,” said O’Connor. After her fourth child she left teaching. “Daycare costs were becoming more than I made,” laughed O’Connor.

“In addition to raising our six children,” said O’Connor, “I became Dirk and Danny’s hired hand. They’re going to miss me.”

O’Connor had seven years away from teaching. Last school year she did a lot of full time substituting for teachers on maternity leave, over 14 weeks. “I have four children in school now so it seemed the right time to go back,” said O’Connor. “When this job came open, it was a great fit.”

O’Connor lives with her family on a ranch west of Plevna and is passionate about her family, church and sports. “I’m excited to shape the youth, to be a good example and to get to know families in the community,” said O’Connor.