Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Education Foundation to honor Dr Dirk Baer at annual gala

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The Duneland Education Foundation will hold the 7th Annual DEF Gala at the Spa Special Events Center on Friday, April 20, 2018, from 7 to 11 p.m. The gala will feature performances by the CHS Band as well as Carla Prather (of Poi Dog Pondering) and Hunter’s Brewery will again be onsite.

In addition to hors d’oeuvres and the auction to benefit the foundation, the gala will feature the drawing of the annual DEF Gift of Education $10,000 Scholarship Raffle. The gala will also include the presentation of the 2018 Honored Educator Award, which will go to the family of Dr. Dirk Baer, 1955-2017.

Dirk’s life work was public education. He began his career in 1977 as a government, economics, and Spanish teacher in the Oregon Davis School Corporation. While there, he coached junior high basketball and varsity golf. In 1980, Dirk became assistant principal at Oregon Davis Jr.-Sr. High school, often splitting his time between teaching and administrating. Dirk went on to serve as principal of Oregon Davis High from 1981-1987.

1987 brought Dirk and his wife Kim to the Duneland School Corporation, where he served as the Principal of Chesterton High School from 1987 to 1993. While serving as principal, Dirk received numerous awards and recognitions, including recognition by his colleagues as Staff Member of the Year in 1988, by the Duneland Association of Educational Secretaries Administrator of the Year in 1991, a Quill and Scroll award in 1993, and the IASP District 1 Principal of the Year in 1993. Dirk took great pride in the accomplishments of all students. As recognition for outstanding academic excellence, Dirk established the 5% club -- an honor meant for both scholar and educator. In 1991, Dirk found a need for a new high school. He saw his dream come to life in August of 2000 as the new CHS complex became operational. He loved every minute he spent with the students and staff at CHS.

In 1992, Baer became the Superintendent of Finance for the Duneland School Corporation. As Dirk continued to serve Duneland in this position, he was again awarded many honors for his service. He also found time to be active in community endeavors. He served in the Chesterton/Porter Rotary as well as on the Chesterton Police Commission.

Beginning in 2002, Dirk served the Duneland School Corporation as Superintendent of Schools. He led the corporation through difficult financial crises all the while trying to maintain programs and the level of excellence for which Duneland is known. Dirk was committed to the real Duneland Difference -- the students, families, and staff. He was dedicated to his profession, but more importantly the people he served.

Baer retired from Duneland Schools in 2013 after 26 years of dedication and service.

For additional information, either about the gala or the raffle, please contact the Duneland Education Foundation via email at or phone 983-3715.


Posted 4/9 updated 4/11/2018




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