Our good friend and history instructor, Mr. Bob Baker, announced that he is retiring from The Soulsville Charter School. He will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best in his retirement. When CAST counselor Rachel Cox posted the news on Facebook, the Internet didn’t quite shut down, but there were many, many comments about his leaving. Here is just a sampling of what some of our instructors and alumni had to say about the man they all called a friend.

“Well, Alumni, the day we all dreaded is here. Our very own Mr. Baker has decided to retire. Mr. Baker and I started at Soulsville in the same year, back in the fall of 2010. He has always been so thoughtful and encouraging to his fellow staff members. He left us hand-written notes and candy in our boxes, stopped us in the hallways for a kind word or question out of genuine interest, kept us laughing in faculty meetings, and was always willing to sign up to help out with our extracurricular activities. Y’all know firsthand what a good dancer he is from our proms over the years! He taught his classes with passion and personality, and he cared about each individual student in his classroom. Even now, he asks us all the time how individual alumni are doing. Mr. Baker deserves his retirement, and we are all so excited for him. But there is no question that he’s leaving an empty set of shoes that will be impossible to fill, and we will all miss him so very much. I know you all have so many memories and quotes and hilarious tidbits that will help us honor Mr. Baker’s legacy. Post some in the comments for him to read! Mr. Baker, we love you and we are so grateful for everything you have done for us. Oh, and I have one simple question: (since you don’t do complicated) Can we call you Bob now?” – Rachel Cox, CAST Counselor

Bob Baker with CAST counselor Rachel Cox.

“Mr. Baker, Ms. Harrell, and I all started at Soulsville the same year. Mr. Baker was my teacher neighbor in the portables in 2010! Mr. Baker, you have made us all better and I’m so grateful to have known and worked with you for 10 years! We love you!” – Ashley Shores

“Mr. Baker: For most of these kids they met you at Soulsville but I remember being a little 7th grade boy meeting you for the first time at Wooddale Middle School and you always made sure you took out time to get to know who I was! Never would I have imagined our paths would cross again in high school but I’m grateful that they did! I remember day one seeing you at Soulsville and VERYYYYYY happy but no one understood why except Marquentius and me! You are someone with a legacy that will carry on forever and in your honor of great service to the education world, it would be great to see something named after you! Continue keeping it simple and not complicated!” – Kewan Wallace, TSCS Alumni

“Mr. Baker has been such a light all 10-plus years I’ve been at Soulsville. From notes of encouragement, candy in my mailbox, requests for MS Green Team to help out with HS bins, letting my family use his cabin, and always asking how my kiddos are doing he was just the best (and these are just a few things that come to mind). He is going to leave a big hole in our tornado hearts.” – Kalli Harrell, TSCS Instructor

“Mr. Baker gave you something a lot of teachers at Soulsville couldn’t, not because they didn’t want to but because they hadn’t been through the different obstacles that he has. He was often quiet about his life before a teacher but I always knew that was what made him different. He never let me turn in anything but my best and was the only teacher to ever ask me, “How was I asleep and still got the answer right?”  He will definitely be missed.”  – Kordae Maples, TSCS Alumni

“Retirement well deserved. Mr. Baker has to be one of the most influential teachers that have ever crossed my path in life. He’s definitely taught me, and I’m sure tons of other students, valuable life lessons as well as history lessons. Hands down the FUNNEST HISTORY CLASS I’ve ever taken in my educational life, he cared for all of us as if we were his OWN, never expected anything less then 100% from us in school, in our personal lives, and in his classroom! I’m sure I’ve given this man AT LEAST $5 in quarters, clowned him for the flip phone, and came to him when I really needed advice. Mr. Baker was always there to listen. He’s one of the reasons I keep my life SIMPLE and never COMPLICATED. I will definitely miss seeing his face when I stop by Soulsville. THE HEART of Soulsville.” – Shaka Imani. TSCS Alumni

“Mr. Baker is a teacher who taught us with so much passion. What I loved the most about being in his history class was that he made us laugh. I remember during my senior year when I dealt with my grandmother’s death, he was always there for me if I needed to talk and take a break or just to laugh to keep my spirit up for the day. I’ll never forget our talks and memories. He’s one the best teachers I’ve ever had.”  – Andre Johnson III, TSCS Alumni

“I only have one fond memory, when a friend and I were trying to race down the hall after lunch one day and Mr. Baker yelled loudly and told us to come to him. I was so upset. He had us stand beside him while everybody got a chance to go to their lockers and get to class before the bell. In the end, he ended up walking me to class and had me explain to Mrs. Djigo why I was late.  But I bet you that was the last time I tried running again. Mr. Baker was THAT teacher that EVERY student needed. He was caring, thoughtful, father like, wise, and SIMPLY the best teacher that The Soulsville Charter School has ever had walk through those doors. His humble, yet blunt presence and personality could be felt by any TSCS student. Growing up in high school, everyone knew that they HAD to face Mr. Baker, come junior year, and if you weren’t ready, you had no other choice but to be, for Mr. Baker DOES NOT DO COMPLICATED. But I hope that Mr. Baker enjoys his retirement the best way he can, for he deserves every bit of it. We Love You Mr. Baker.” – Cloe Tatiyana Smith, TSCS Alumni

“In all honesty, I always had a love for history, but the way he taught it definitely was an eye opener, from the stories to the energy he exudes during lessons. I can say that there was never a dull moment being in his class. He showed me I was smarter than I was given credit for every time I stepped into his class. He even supports my rugby journey to this day. I couldn’t be happier to have had him as a teacher. Congratulations on a successful teaching career and I wish you the best in this retirement.” – Kaivion Nisby, TSCS Alumni

“I can vividly recall several times during my first year at Soulsville when Mr. Baker reassured me that everything would be all right. If you’ve been at TSCS for a while, you know how overwhelming the first year can be. Baker’s influence was far reaching. Throughout my time at TSCS, Mr. Baker has continued to inspire me and countless others with his warm words, jokes, notes of appreciation, and so much more. I am blessed that our paths crossed. Mr. Baker, congratulations on retiring. You will be sorely missed at TSCS!” – Demetrius Robinson, TSCS Instructor

“The absolute BEST! I loved seeing your smile throughout the day. I don’t think I ever saw you upset. Getting those quarters from you really was a joy but reading those chapters wasn’t a joke. Happy retirement!!!! You deserve this 1,000 percent! Maybe one day when this pandemic is over completely we should all give you the proper good bye: a walk through Soulsville’s hallways. Keep everyone smiling and continue to be a blessing. Thank you.”  –  Cherity Webb, TSCS Alumni