For more than three decades, Marian (Baldacchino) Gericke ’81, ’82, MA, CCC-SLP has enjoyed a fulfilling career as a speech-language pathologist.
“My mother, who was profoundly deaf as the result of contracting meningitis as a child, was my greatest inspiration,” said Gericke. “She was a strong, curious and determined woman, who never allowed her deafness and communication challenges to limit her in any way.”
In high school, Gericke was strongly considering pursuing a career in teaching, until she met a speech-language pathologist who shared the scope of the profession with her. “I was drawn to the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives by improving their ability to communicate and to connect with others,” Gericke said.
After graduating from Pacific, she worked in a medical setting for several years. Since 1986, she has worked as a speech-language pathologist and special day class preschool teacher for Sunnyvale Elementary School District.
“I still love what I do and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to serve individuals with communication disorders for over 38 years,” Gericke said. “I love watching my students progress toward becoming effective communicators and coaching parents on how to facilitate communication development in their children.” For the past 32 years she has worked exclusively with preschool students. She enjoys their “innate curiosity, playfulness and joy.” She added, “Because this is a time of rapid brain development, preschool children often make rapid progress with appropriate interventions. It is rewarding to watch and be a part of this process.”
“I strongly encourage students to consider a career in the field of speech-language pathology because of the opportunity to work with diverse populations with diverse needs and the daily rewards of improving the lives of clients and their families.”
When reflecting on what keeps her inspired, she also credits the talented and dedicated team she has the privilege to work with at Sunnyvale Elementary School District. In 2010, Gericke was named the district’s Teacher of the Year. In 2012, she received the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association District 4 Outstanding Service award. She has served on the Santa Clara County Speech-Language-Hearing Association (SCCSHA) Executive Board for the past 10 years. In 2017, she received the SCCSHA Honors of the Association award.
Gericke lives and works in the South Bay Area. She and her husband, Michael, an engineer and small business owner, have been married for 33 years. Their eldest son, a construction project manager, daughter-in-law, a software consultant, and two grandsons live within walking distance. Her youngest son lives in Colorado and is a design manager for an aerospace company.
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold