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Vanessa Jirik
Education Specialist (EdS)

I am a driven teacher and artist living in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky.

School has long been a solace for me. I grew up in a household of abuse and neglect and spent time in the foster care system. For me, school was always a safe place where I could be myself without consequence; where I felt seen and cared for. I learned there that earning my education would allow me to not only excel but be anything I wanted. 

The arts have always been a passion of mine and they led me to pursue my first degree in graphic design. During my college career, I served in Big Brothers Big Sisters and as a 4-H summer camp counselor. At the time I knew I loved working with kids, but I didn't realize it to the degree I do now. Within a few months of graduating college and working in my first corporate advertising job, I knew I missed those learning moments working with students. I wanted to build a safe place for learning and expression that I was given in my youth.

It was then I went back to school for art education. Four collegiate degrees, five certifications, and thirteen years later, I am so thankful to get to work with students every day. I now teach primarily media arts and animation/film to students in grades 9-12, but have experience teaching a multitude of topics at many different grade levels. I've served as a coach, club sponsor, therapy leader, and so many other things in an effort to provide students with as many supports and opportunities as possible. Not surprisingly, I've garnered considerable insight into the education profession. Additionally, I've gained attention for my extensive academics and unique approach to technology in art. Simply put, I approach instruction with modernity yet sensibility.  

In my free time, I enjoy baking bread and exploring the quiet woods of Kentucky. An ardent former soccer and roller derby player, this old lady now enjoys lower-impact activities like archery and hiking. I have 2 cats, each named after former UK basketball players from the year that I got them. I consider myself an autodidact of photography and enjoy experimenting with new techniques. I live a balanced life - full of reading and reflection as well as creativity and expression. You're welcome to look at some of my photography below or see my "personal art" page for other works.

Additionally, please visit my Curriculum Vitae / Résumé page to view my full credentials. 


My teaching certifications include:

• Art Education

• English (Grades 8-12)

• Social Studies (Grades 8-12)

• School Counseling

• Principalship

• EL Endorsement (2024)


For more information on these credentials, please look at my curriculum vitae:

Teaching Expertise

I am proud to be a part of Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Kentucky. I currently teach visual art, graphic design, animation/film, and photography to high school students and I love every minute of helping them explore problem-solving, creative solutions, and real-world experiences. I was named "Teacher of the Year" for Lafayette High School in 2023.

I got married in July of 2022, so while my last name is now Jirik, much of my work reflects my maiden name of Baker.

Want To Know More About Me Personally?

Check out this short video I made to introduce myself to students at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year when we were learning remotely. Should it not load, you can also watch it here.

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