If Baylor School of Education professor in Curriculum & Instruction Randy Wood, Ph.D., can’t be found in his colorful office, he’s probably at an airport, on an airplane, or driving across Texas. Recently appointed chairman of the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) and chair of the Commission on Christian Education/Nurture for the Baptist World Alliance, Wood frequently traverses the state, country and planet.
“One good thing about being the chairman of the TEPSAC board is I have a lot of opportunities to learn more about what’s going on in private education,” Wood said. “The main thing the TEPSAC board does that I’m proudest of is we make sure all private Texas schools are meeting a state standard.”
Established in 1986, TEPSAC is an umbrella organization composed of 16 accreditation commissions categorized by denominations — Catholics, Baptists, etc. TEPSAC, and consequently all commissions underneath it, is recognized by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to accredit the state’s private schools. TEPSAC bridges the differences between public and private schools by holding private schools to the minimum standards of public schools for accreditation.
“I’ve been a part of TEPSAC because my philosophy for education is that parents ought to have the right to choose where their children go to school,” Wood said. “There are some great public schools in the state, there’s no doubt about that, but there are also some really good private schools, and each family should have the opportunity to decide which is best for their children.”
Wood’s duties in his two-year appointment include presiding over TEPSAC’s semi-annual meetings, visiting private schools across Texas, and overseeing all TEPSAC tasks. TEPSAC representatives must visit private schools seeking accreditation every five years. Private schools are required to meet nine standards that include quality of facilities, qualification of faculty, educational background of teachers, and more.
Joining the leadership team for the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) was also a natural fit for Wood, who holds a Ph.D. in the Psychology of Religion and an M.Div. in Pastoral Care. The five-year appointment allows Wood to contribute to global conversations about Christian education programs.
“At the BWA, we’re trying to figure out how we can help churches develop stronger education programs,” Wood said. He said the Commission on Education/Nurture is one of several BWA commiisions designed to research, discuss and come up with insights and resources the BWA may make available to churches.
The annual BWA meetings occur at various global points. Wood has visited Durban, South Africa; Vancouver, Canada; and most recently, Bangkok, Thailand, for the Annual Gatherings. At the beginning of a new five-year term, all 24 board members from across the world plan topics, objectives and goals to collectively accomplish. Members write papers on those topics and share experiences from the groups of people they represent. During the work sessions, the papers are reviewed and edited to include worldwide information.
“The exciting thing for me is it broadens my perspective by being with people from so many different parts of the world with so many different interests and such different populations,” Wood said.
At his most recent BWA meeting, Wood presented three papers about youth ministry in churches. After investing much of his time in education to working with middle school grades, Wood said he enjoyed researching a topic so dear to his heart.
In addition to his state and global work, Wood has formed the Waco Council for Private Schools, leads the SOE annual spring-break service trip to Costa Rica, and works as the advisor for Baylor’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and Baylor’s Club Baseball team.
“I’ve probably been the happiest in my career these last few years with the things I’m doing,” Wood said. “I have a lot of friends who’ve retired over the years, and I just don’t know why I would retire. I don’t think that word is really in my vocabulary.”
—By Molly Meeker
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Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.