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Mary L. Baxter

Distinguished Alumnus December 1984

Mary L. Butler Baxter graduated from Oakland High School in Haines City in 1968. She received her Associate in Arts degree in Pre-Elementary Education from Polk Community College in 1971. In 1973, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Michigan State University. She received her Master of Science degree in Curriculum from Rollins College in 1982, and her Doctorate of Education in Administrative Supervision in 1984.

Baxter served as an educator for 31 years, both in Flagler and Polk counties. She served as a middle school teacher from 1973-1982 at Haines City Middle School. She was a Curriculum Assistant, Assistant Principal, and Acting Principal at Bridgers Avenue Elementary in Auburndale from 1982-1984 before her appointment to Principal of John Cox Elementary School in Lakeland in 1984.

Baxter was a member of all the professional teacher organizations, curriculum groups, and principal organizations, including being a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education. She was also a member of Phi Delta Kappa, an international fraternal organization for educators.

Her accomplishments in community affairs are many. A member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Polk City, she served as President of the Young Adult Choir and President of the Usher Board. She chaired the United Way campaign effort at her school, and volunteered as President of the Concerned Citizens Civic Club of Lake Alfred.

Baxter’s professional civic activities included membership on the county-wide Culyer Reading Program evaluation group, the Curriculum Committee of Haines City Middle School, and Chairman of the Benevolent Committee of the Haines City Middle School. She also devoted her time as an instructor for the Reading and Mathematics Program (RAMP) Civic Operation, an after-school tutoring program for students in grades 1-6.

Mary brought special honor to Polk State College (known then as Polk Community College through her contributions to the Foundation and its many fundraising projects. Baxter was the first Polk State College student ever to earn the Ford Foundation Scholarship.