Dr. Mark Baker’s time as an education major at Missouri Southern was as much about building relationships as it was focused on his academic studies.

Baker, who was recently named superintendent of the Carthage School District, says the classroom lessons were important – but that nothing could replace his experiences with people.

“I learned a lot of valuable information from books, but more importantly, about relationships,” he said. “I played baseball, and Coach Warren Turner intentionally had us involved in community projects.”

Baker, a 1992 graduate of Missouri Southern, also holds a master’s in administration degree from Missouri State University in Springfield, as well as a doctorate in educational leadership from St. Louis University.

He began his career in education, teaching American history at Carthage Junior High School in 1993. He also served as an assistant principal and assistant superintendent at Carl Junction before becoming assistant superintendent for business at Carthage in 2002.

Baker said his vision for the Carthage district is to build relationships with students.

“We want them to feel comfortable going forward with the different aspects of their lives, whether it be additional education or careers,” he said.

Baker and his wife, Stacie, have two children – Emilee, a student at MSSU, and Alex, a freshman at Carl Junction High School.