Board Member Focus: Anderson Baker
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." ― Robert F. Kennedy
Anderson Baker, Board Chairman for Success Preparatory Academy, has made more than his fair share of ‘ripples of hope’. While his day job keeps him duly occupied, much of his passion is channeled into service on a number of professional and civic boards. And, as President of Gillis, Ellis & Baker, Inc. – a New Orleans-based insurance agency, founded in 1933, employing approximately 35 people and producing nearly $70,000,000 in insurance premiums, annually – the value of his service cannot be understated.
“Anderson has shared his knowledge and skill set in helping me personally and promoting the school’s growth,” said School Director Niloy Gangopadhyay. “He has really embraced our mission of developing college bound students for leadership and lifelong learning by getting immersed in the work. He’s provided effective leadership as a board chair over the past year and over the past three years as a very involved board member.”
Success Preparatory Academy (SPA) is a Type 5 charter school authorized by the Recovery School District and serves Kindergarten through seventh grade students, and SPA staff is composed of a highly dedicated team of committed, passionate, and critical thinking individuals who firmly believe that every student will go to college.
“I joined the board of Success Preparatory Academy to have a positive impact on the lives of over 400 students,” said Baker. “One degree of change is nothing in the early stages of one’s life, but when that one degree is extended 10, 20, and 50 years, the paths that people take can vary dramatically."
The school has a population of 96% free and reduced lunch students and each student is required to complete a minimum of ten service learning hours each year, and by the time they graduate from SPA, they will have been on 10 college visits around the country.
“The Board and faculty members of Success Prep, along with the other charter schools in this area, can have a multiplier effect that will be felt for generations,” said Baker. “That’s not a bad result from just a little bit of involvement from a lot of people.”
The Top Shelf
The success of a charter school hinges largely on the decisions of its governing board. The Top Shelf enhances the capacity of charter school boards through professional development, board recruitment and community engagement.