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Deborah Baldwin has been a drama teacher and director for nearly forty years.  In college, she trained to become a professional actress but at the same time she studied to become a teacher, and they have helped each other.

She found a place for her imagination in high school–the stage! It was there that Deborah was cast in her first play.  To this day, she becomes nostalgic whenever she steps backstage . The scent of sawdust, a can of paint and the warmth of the stage lights are a magical elixir that help her feel at home.

"My most profound epiphany occurred onstage many years ago. At the time, society had impressed upon me  to hide my negative feelings or only express those feelings that were most accepted by others of any female in the early l970’s. I realized that by sharing myself with an audience through a character, I could express my feelings and thoughts.  I felt accepted universally.  That’s a heady experience." - Baldwin

After college, Deborah became a director and she took to it right away. "I have a leader type personality and directing fit into my life very easily.  Once my first play was mounted, I saw the potential of affecting people through stories that I created in my own manner. I adore making a statement through words and actions.  I know that I have had a great impact on audiences. They tell me so."

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Awards

2016

EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARD

St. Vrain Valley Schools

2008

CULTURAL DIVERSITY AWARD for ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

National League of Cities and National Black Caucus of Elected Officials

1996

TEACHER OF THE MONTH

Downtown Rotary Columbia, MO

Key Accomplishments

Established English Language Learners Drama Club - the only club of its kind in the nation integrating dramatic arts into language

Directed at-risk, reluctant readers through staged readings - bringing up reading scores by three grade levels

As a teacher, Baldwin retained 95% of returning students in Musical Theatre class each year she taught and doubled enrollment in two additional classes.

Nominations

2001, 2002, 2003

DISTINGUISHED NOMINEE for

DRAMA & SPEECH TEACHER

Disney American Teacher

 

1995 & 2003

DISTINGUISHED NOMINEE for

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR IN A SPECIALIZED AREA COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

When Mrs. Baldwin joined the APEX staff, we had just proposed the idea of beginning a Musical Theater program at APEX, offering a 2-hour block class team taught by our drama and music teachers. We hired Mrs. Baldwin and the program was off the ground and up and running! In her 6 years with APEX, Mrs. Baldwin has directed 18 Broadway junior productions, an achievement that would take most drama teachers almost 20 years to achieve! APEX will forever be indebted to Debbie Baldwin for the heart and soul she has poured into our students, our program and our lives. - Kim Lancaster, APEX Program Director

Show More

Stepping into Mrs. Baldwin's classroom means focus, it means attention to detail, and it means you've devoted yourself to unapologetically pursue progress, armed with ambition at your waist. It is not that these ideals are verbally forced upon you, but that Mrs. Baldwin's energy demands them. Mrs. Baldwin wasn't the first person to encourage me to take a drama class, but she was the first to nurture in me a love for it that will stick with me through all walks of life. Mrs. Baldwin gives her students great responsibility, and more importantly the courage to believe that they can live up to her expectations. Vivacious in character, and ever-generous in spirit, Mrs. Baldwin commands her classroom with a strong-will and a soft appreciation for beauty and sensitivity. Whether she is asking about your week paired with a full bellied laugh or telling you for the third time to get your scene on the right acting plane, Mrs. Baldwin teaches a drama class the same way you should make a cake, with deliberate direction and spoonfuls of extra sweetness. Mrs. Baldwin is forever the voice in the back of my head persuading me to perform more bravely, consider more thoughtfully, and speak with more diction!

Camille Taft

Student

Deborah Baldwin is not only a lifetime friend, but also a master teacher.  I was fortunate to teach with her for over 10 years.  During that time we creatively collaborated daily and enhanced the lives of many middle school students. Debbie is by far one of the most creative and compassionate individuals I know and I hold her in very high esteem.

Melissa Straw

Teacher, Columbia, MO

I had the privilege of working with Deb Baldwin for 6 years as co-teachers of a musical theatre class. The class included students ranging from 3rd-12th grade and students who were in their first musical theatre experience through those who were regularly performing in professional theaters in the area. Deb was a first class teacher and a fantastic teammate. She knows how to help kids at each level of learning accomplish their very best. She's able to take that early beginner and give them skills to improve their performing ability while still challenging those who are veterans and are ready for the next level. Deb is fond of reminding the students that we are not members of the "good enough club" and therefore we don't accept mediocre effort from them. She runs a tight ship that is simultaneously full of fun, and energy. Her students come expecting to work hard, practice at home, and knowing that they will be proud of the performance they give. I am grateful for all of the time I had working with Deb and all that I learned from her and experienced alongside her.

Diana Austin

Vocal Music Teacher, Apex Home School Enrichment Program

Deborah Baldwin epitomizes the word “educator.” Though ‘retired,’ her goal of inspiring young minds through the arts has not lessened, nor is it likely to anytime soon. Baldwin’s inspiring written work is a joyous and entertaining offshoot of an even larger occupation: her life’s work. Her thoughtful and genuine heart, once reserved for children in a classroom, is now available to any child with an imagination. And how am I qualified to make this statement? I was part of her first class of students in 1976. I LIVED her gifts—now your child can too.

Randall Kenneth Jones

Author, SHOW ME

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