Wednesday, March 24, 2004
When Betty Baerg, Monterey Bay Academy’s veteran math teacher of 38 years, was named a Teacher of Excellence by the Adventist Alumni Association (AAA) in 2003, it was clear that MBA’s science teacher of 38 years, Bob Baerg, would not be far behind.
Throughout their distinguished careers Betty and Bob have received many awards together, including the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award and being named La Sierra University’s co-Alumni of the year in 1985. As pioneers of integrating technology into the classroom, the Baergs have presented at several denominational and national teaching conventions. So it was no surprise when AAA named Bob a Teacher of Excellence for 2004.
“We’re a good team,” Bob said, “I’m very humbled to be honored this way. It is my passion to be on the cutting edge of academic excellence in the classroom.” That passion has continued outside of the classroom as well, with Bob’s dedication to the audio/visual needs of MBA. Over 38 years, he has provided the sound assistance for hundreds of programs including church services, music department concerts, student talent shows, and much more.
“I admire his incredible dedication,” Principal Bill Keresoma said. “Not only is he a master in the classroom, but the amazing number of hours he puts in outside his classroom to continually improve Adventist education has always been inspiring to me.” Bob has also inspired many of his students over the years to find a love for physics and technology they never knew existed. Many of Bob’s former students have gone on to work in fields like medicine, education and law. Dr. Ramona Clark is an alum of MBA ’57 and a current school board member. She also sent all five of her children through the Baergs’ classrooms.
“I am very grateful to Bob and Betty Baerg for giving my five children outstanding teaching in math and science. Three of them pursued related careers as commercial airline pilot, orthopedic surgeon and certified public accountant.” Clark said. “Their strong foundation at MBA helped them in their chosen fields. The impact of the Baergs as dedicated teachers and Christians is profound.”
That profound impact will continue on at Monterey Bay Academy even though the Baergs are preparing to retire this year. That’s because Donna Baerg, their youngest daughter and the current Vice Principal at MBA, will be taking over her mother’s role as MBA’s resident math teacher.
“I’m so tickled as a mother that my daughter is taking over my classes,” Betty said. “She’s so good at connecting with students and she has this incredible ability to remain professional and still reach people on an individual level.”
As for Donna, she’s ready to get back into the classroom. She taught math for seven years at Collegeview Academy in Lincoln, Nebraska before joining the ranks of the administration at MBA.
“There’s nothing like seeing the light bulb go on.” Donna said. “I love the challenge of making math so interesting to students that they want to learn.” She’s not as sure though, if she’s ready to see her parents leave.
“It’s going to be a huge change because they’ve lived here my entire life and MBA has always been my home.” Donna said. “It’s crazy to think I’ll be teaching in my mom’s classroom, but it’s also exciting. Carrying on what my parents have accomplished is truly an honor.”