Susan Baker spent 35 years in education, in a job she never really intended to do.


"Actually, I wanted to be a teacher, but I was so good at the secretarial stuff."


The Victor Valley High School graduate got her start in 1976, when her husband was stationed in Japan and she worked as an executive secretary at the Okinawa Christian School. She got her foot in the door by being an involved parent -- with a typewriter.


"'Everything you send me is beautiful and typed,'" the school administrator had told her, before offering her a job. "I was the only American in an office full of Japanese."


She taught at the school, but it was her secretarial work where she shined.


"Teachers have a very hard job, and I love organizing, I love editing, I love writing," she said. "And, I thought, I'm right where I need to be."


The family returned to the Victor Valley in 1981, and she was hired by the Apple Valley Elementary School District, working first as the secretary for Rancho Verde Elementary School principal Ed Conrad and, after he became superintendent, in the district office.


When the Apple Valley school districts unified in 1987, Baker found herself learning a specialist's skills: "I worked and got all of [the secondary school] teachers into the [computer] system," certifying their teaching credentials.


"I loved working with all the programs that were involved," with the district office level work, she said. "I loved it all and I did it all."


The politics of the newly unified district eventually caused her to move to the just-as-new Hesperia Unified School District, where she was hired as a credentialing specialist, the only one, at that time, in the Victor Valley.


Her marriage stalled out in 1990 and Baker moved away from the valley. She returned, six months later, starting over from scratch as a secretary at Kingston Elementary School for two years, and then as the secretary for special services at the district office, a role that she occupied until her retirement in 2011.


Now, she's going freelance, running Susan's Solutions and doing the same sort of typing, proof-reading and editing for individual clients that she did for Hesperia Unified.


And she plans to travel, and she won't be doing it alone: After 19 years apart, Baker is getting remarried to her ex-husband on what would have been their 42nd wedding anniversary.


Despite the twists along the way, Baker has no real regrets about how her career turned out, she said.


"Education brings good people together," she said. "People with a heart for kids."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.