Two teachers were honored at the annual Baylor University School of Education Senior Recognition Banquet on April 26. Following tradition, Baylor School of Education seniors had the opportunity to nominate teachers who had been influential in their lives. Students submitted a nomination essay about their teacher, and the awarded educators were chosen by a Baylor faculty committee.
This year Regina Moschitta of Atoka, Tennessee, and Monica Regan of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., were honored with the Baylor School of Education’s “Most Memorable Teacher” award.
Regina Moschitta was nominated by Morgan Frey, a secondary English major who met Moschitta as a timid eighth-grader in Algebra I. In her nomination essay, Frey points to a moment of deep self-doubt about the new advanced math class she had been placed in and said Moschitta was able to help her get past it and feel confident in her abilities as a student.
“She was the teacher that made me feel safe to be vulnerable and inspired me to succeed,” Frey said. “Mrs. Moschitta’s legacy in my life is carrying out in my English classroom today. She has left a legacy that I want to follow in, because she not only saw her job as a tool for teaching math but as an avenue to inspire students to reach their full potential, in both their passions and God-given strengths.”
Moschitta is currently a special education teacher at Brighton Middle School in Tipton County, Tennessee, where she has been teaching for the last five years. Moschitta previously taught at Central Day School in Collierville, Tennessee, for 12 years and Lincoln Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee, for a year and a half.
“Teaching is fulfilling to me because I have the opportunity to see students have those ‘light-bulb’ moments,” Moschitta said. She said she feels blessed to now work with the special needs population. “My students have unique talents and abilities,” Moschitta said. “I love to see them succeed.”
Moschitta received her bachelor’s degree of in education from the University of Memphis. She also received a master’s in education from Union University an Education Specialist degree from Liberty University.
Frey believes that being in Moschitta’s eighth-grade Algebra I class was one of the best things that happened to her.
“She not only impacted me as a student,” Frey said. “She will continue to impact students she has never met because of her influence in my life.”
Monica Regan was nominated by Audrey Hamlin, an all-level special education major who met Regan as an excited sophomore in her theater class at Georgetown High School. Regan taught theater there for 20 years until she moved to Washington, D.C., where she is currently concentrating on writing plays.
“The kids are always just so inspiring,” Regan said. “In high school, they’re at such a great age. They are still open minded and curious.”
Regan graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree of fine arts, and before she began teaching, she traveled in a four-person group called Shakespeare Encounter that performed scenes from Shakespeare for Texas high schools.
In Hamlin’s nomination essay, she details memories of great encouragement and acceptance in Regan’s theater class. Hamlin was a part of program called Peer Buddies and sought to pursue special education more intentionally. Regan was her “yes-man,” loaning stage props, and theater hands to help put on productions in which peers with disabilities could star in modified plays.
“Mrs. Regan did what every good teacher does,” Hamlin said. “She saw the potential within me and gave me the opportunity to meet it. She built my confidence, but not unduly; she taught me to accept constructive criticism and apply it. It was easy, given the level of respect I had for her. This was my first lesson in the power of rapport and relationship in education.”
Hamlin believes that being in Regan’s theater class gave her the confidence to pursue a frightening dream — to become an educator like Regan.
“The formative experiences still inspire and influence me today as a future educator,” Hamlin said. “And that would not have happened without Ms. Regan.”
Regan was unable to attend the Baylor ceremony, where Hamlin read her essay, and Dr. Krystal shared a response from Regan.
—By Taylor Ward
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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.