Arielle Baines, originally from Alaska, moved to Onida seven months ago. “I was ready to find a community where my kids could be outside without me,” Baines said of her decision to move here. “Anchorage is a city of 300,000 people, and I wanted them to find some independence and have a good place to grow.”
“As a family, we listen to audiobooks,” Baines said. “I like coming-of-age stories, Ann of Green Gables, romances, Jane Austin.”
In addition to the jobs she’s had since moving here at The Corner, West Prairie and The Watchman, Baines worked last spring as a substitute teacher. “I applied to be a substitute teacher,” Baines said. “At the end of the school year, they asked me to apply for the position of para-educator.”
For the para position, Baines works primarily with sixth graders, but a class with eighth and ninth graders. “I make sure they stay on task and help them understand concepts to answer questions in math, science, reading, writing and social studies,” Baines said. She also helps students complete school work or catch up on homework during main class and TAP.
Baines grew up in Kotzebue, AK, thirty miles north of the Arctic Circle. When she was nine, her family moved to Nome, AK, 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. While a student at Nome Beltz Junior-Senior High School, “I was a music nerd,” Baines said. “I probably read over 200 books in my high school career. I was great friends with the librarian, she gave me lots of recommendations.
After graduating, Baines attended Alaska Christian College where she met her ex-husband. She then enrolled at Kenai Peninsula College, a campus of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, where she took courses in child development and was inspired to become a teacher. She and her ex-husband started their family soon after with the birth of their son Daniel. His son Juda and daughter Christine followed.
While they made Alaska their home, Baines worked as a nanny, in a gym’s play center, and in offices at Northern Adjusters’ Inc., Wealth DynamX, the Chugach Regional Resources Commission, and Renewal by Anderson where she was part of the operations. , and administrative assistant.
Baines says that since moving to South Dakota, she and her kids have enjoyed “playing tourist.” “We went to Aberdeen to Storybook Land. We explored all along the river and at Pierre. When we lived in Alaska we loved camping, but we haven’t done that here yet. We rode a lot while listening to audiobooks.
In her work at school, “I really love kids,” Baines said. “They’re all good, kind, and kind – a little rambunctious, but aren’t we all?”