Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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September 25, 2013

Mark Maynard: Coaching philosophy carries on: 09/26/13

ASHLAND — The philosophies of Mr. Charles Baker the principal at Star Elementary are the same as when he was Coach Charles Baker the boys basketball coach at East Carter High School.

Individuals were not welcome. It was team first.

Always.

What’s good for the team is good for all.

Team, team, team.

Baker’s basketball teams that followed that simple advice were the most successful and the same goes for the little Carter County elementary school where he is principal. Star Elementary received national recognition as a Blue Ribbon School — one of only five to be honored in the entire state on Tuesday.

The staff look out for each other at every turn — they know their students inside-out — and they all work toward that goal of succeeding with the students and pushing them to be their best.

The teachers aren’t just doing a job, they are changing a community. They know family situations because they’ve often taught brothers or sisters of students in today’s classroom. And they haven’t forgotten those situations be they good ones or bad ones.

Even the first- and second-grade teachers, whose students aren’t tested, feel very much a part of the process that made Star Elementary a Blue Ribbon School. And they should because it’s in those classrooms that the foundation for success was laid.

When Baker was that successful basketball coach, he knew some years were for building and some were for reaping. As a coach, you try to make every year that great year but you have to be realistic. Coach Baker was always that realistic person who didn’t mind the building process because of the potential rewards.

Star’s success didn’t come overnight either. It came through years of hard work and years of passion for the students they serve.

Star Elementary has already twice been a School of Distinction in Kentucky so it’s no huge surprise that more honors have followed.

Like any good coach, Baker deflects any credit to his players — in this case the school staff — for what has happened. But, truth be told, a school is only as good as its leadership and Charles Baker gets it. He got it in basketball and he gets it in school administration.

He hires the best he can, works with them and makes them part of the team. Baker has sold them on that concept, just like he did most of his basketball teams.

When everybody works together, mountains can be moved and when everybody feels appreciated and loves what they do every single day, even bigger mountains can be moved.

They’re knocking them down at Star Elementary with a staff that has a heart as big as all of Carter County.

“We’ve got a good team assembled,” Baker said.

Indeed.

Who knew something as simple as teamwork could do so much?

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

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