December’s BN360 Spotlight Professional – Derek Baker

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to this year’s BN360 Spotlight Professionals.

Each year, BN360 highlights a select few individuals, nominated by member companies, within the Buffalo Niagara region who exemplify today’s definition of a young rising leader. Check back each month to read about these young professionals and how they are making a positive impact on the Buffalo Niagara region.

Derek Baker
Sweet Home Middle Shool

Derek Baker

Derek Baker is principal of Sweet Home Middle School. His responsibilities include overseeing a rigorous curriculum that provides students with a strong educational foundation.

Derek began his career as a teacher at Buffalo United Charter School after playing wide receiver and defensive back for the Buffalo Destroyers, the former professional arena football team in Western New York. He has been on the leadership team at MST since 2016.

First Job Out of School

Teacher at Buffalo United Charter School

Career Highlights

With many career highlights over more than 12 years of teaching, Derek was named Who’s Who of American Teachers and has been keynote speaker for events at Austin McCormick Academy and Bronx Regional High School in New York.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Career

Make sure you take care of your family first and everything else will fall in line.

 Volunteer Activities

  • Midtown Bible Church – Youth minister
  • Amherst Youth Basketball – Assistant coach

On Buffalo Niagara

“There’s no better time to live, work and experience Buffalo. This is truly a city of Good neighbors.”

Greatest Benefit of Working in Buffalo Niagara

 “Buffalo is small enough to meet all the right people to catapult your career to the next level.”

Greatest hope for the future of the Buffalo Niagara business community

“My desire is to see a more diverse business and professional community. This means we need more people of color in leadership positions.”

 About Being a Spotlight Professional

“As an African American school principal, this honor means more to me than just being recognized.  It lets young people of color all over WNY know that it doesn’t matter what zip code you are from, you can aspire to be your heart’s desire.  The sky is truly the limit.”

Derek’s 5 Favorites

 Favorite Restaurant: Mother’s

Favorite Business Book: ‘Breaking the Curse of Willie Lynch’ by Alvin Morrow

Best Buffalo Hidden Gem: Freddy J’s Restaurant

Favorite Vacation Spot: Abu Dhabi – The Jumeriah Hotel-was absolutely beautiful!

Best Place for Wings: Buffalo Pizza Company