Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

November 7, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor Elementary Education Graduate Named National Student Teacher of the Year [11/07/2022]

Emily Blackwell

(Photo by Hannah DLT Buresh)

Baylor University elementary education graduate Emily Blackwell, B.S.Ed. ’22, now teaching first grade at Brentfield Elementary in Richardson ISD, has been honored as the 2022 National Student Teacher of the Year. The award is given by Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, and the Association of Teacher Educators.

The KDP/ATE National Student Teacher of the Year award recognizes one student teacher/intern annually who has demonstrated the ability to plan and develop classroom management skills and instructional strategies that support all students; establish interpersonal relationships with students, parents, faculty and staff; and reflect powerfully on their student teaching experience. Award winners are acknowledged with a scholarship award and a speaking engagement at the ATE Annual Meeting.


October 28, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Dr. Sandi Cooper Recognized for State and National Leadership [10/28/2022]

Dr. Sandi CooperBy Gracie Ozburn

Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor in the Baylor School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, was selected as the 2022 recipient of the E. Glenadine Gibb Achievement Award. The award honors a member of the Texas Council for Teachers of Mathematics for contributions to the improvement of mathematics education at the state and national level. Cooper received the award at the Conference for the Advancement of Math Teaching (CAMT) in San Antonio in the summer.

She was nominated by two Baylor colleagues — Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor of mathematics education, and Dr. Ryann Shelton, PhD ’20, lecturer in Baylor’s online EdD in Learning & Organizational Change. The nomination lauded Cooper’s impact in the field, noting, “She is an outstanding colleague and offers significant leadership for the entire mathematics education community. She is an exemplary scholar, teacher, and leader.” Continue Reading →

September 30, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

EdD Student Puts Baylor Mission to Serve into Practice with Therapy Dog [09/29/2022]

By Mary Sage

Adrianna Prado, a third-year doctoral student in Baylor School of Education’s online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change, has combined her love of education and of animals to provide meaningful service to communities as part of a therapy dog team. She said her certified therapy sheepadoodle, Stella, has been the “paws of Christ” in settings ranging from library reading events to tragedy recovery.

A special education specialist in San Antonio’s Northside ISD, Prado took Stella to Uvalde in the aftermath of the school shooting at Robb Elementary in late May, serving with Therapy Animals of San Antonio to offer comfort and support.

Continue Reading →

August 29, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor Online Ed.D. in Learning and Organizational Change Honored by CPED

EdD-LOC Faculty Staff

Faculty and staff of the Baylor Ed.D. in Learning and Organizational Change online program

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Learning and Organizational Change online program housed within Baylor University’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education has been named a Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Program of the Year 2022 winner. The CPED Program of the Year award is given annually to one or more institutions whose program demonstrates that it is distinctive, innovative and useful to other CPED members. This honor will be awarded in October at the annual CPED Convening in Pittsburgh.

“This distinguished program has been designed to foster professionals who are inspired to influence the future of organizational growth and champion systemic change across schools, government agencies, businesses and private organizations,” said Shanna Hagan-Burke, Ph.D., dean of the Baylor School of Education. “The award is a testament to the hard work, dedication and passion of our faculty and staff and continues to shine the light on the premier professional education offerings Baylor has pioneered.”


August 24, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor School Psychology PhD Earns APA Accreditation on Contingency [08/24/2022]

PhD Faculty

Baylor School Psychology PhD Faculty — Back row: Dr. Sarah Mire and Dr. Nicholas Benson. Front l-r: Dr. Kelsey Ragan, Dr. Eric Robinson, Dr. Tamara Hodges

The Baylor School of Education’s PhD program in School Psychology has earned accreditation on contingency from the American Psychological Association (APA), with the contingency based on the program’s relative newness. Baylor anticipates its first program finishers in 2023 and will be eligible for full accreditation in 2025.

The professional preparation provided by the Baylor School Psychology Ph.D., through the Department of Educational Psychology, is founded on the ethical codes and professional standards of the APA and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), as well as the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists rules of practice. Continue Reading →

August 15, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

First Year Teacher Reflections — How Did Baylor SOE 2021 Grads Do? [08/12/2022]

Baylor School of Education prepares teachers by providing a depth of experience and a depth of knowledge. Seniors spend a full year in a local classroom with a mentor teacher, gaining more and more responsibility as the year progresses. But can anything really prepare them for their first year in their own classroom? Read the reflections of six of our 201 graduates and see how it went!

Morgan Hicks

Morgan Hicks, BSEd ’21, Elementary Education
Second grade
Smith Elementary,
Frisco ISD

“My first year was emotionally and mentally draining, while also being so rewarding at the same time. I was prepared for the actual teaching of the content, but boy was the behavioral side of teaching a challenge. My teammates kept telling me ‘this is not a normal year behaviorally’ due to COVID backlash. . . . I learned to treat each day as a new day in order to let go of grudges I might’ve had. This profession truly has its ups and downs, and boy will you go through them all.”


Kirby with Superintendent

Kirby Jarzombek Gentry, BSEd ’20, MSEd ’21
Third Grade
Bryant Elementary,

Prosper ISD

“Although I was still very nervous on the first day, I felt confident and calm approaching relationship building with my students and their families, classroom management, and teaching academic content. . . . I owe so much of what I have done this this year to the Baylor School of Education, as well as the mentor teachers I had during my time in schools at Baylor. Many of the activities I use in my classroom were modeled for me in graduate school or in my teacher prep classes.”


Rylee Jorges

Rylee Jorges, BSEd ’21, Secondary English
Second grade
Waco High School,
Waco ISD

“My first year of teaching has taught me that relationships are the key to student success. To put it simply, students will not learn from you if they do not like or trust you. . . . Students will learn from a great teacher, but sometimes the best teacher in the room was not me. Student-facilitated instruction played a key role in my classroom, and research shows that students learn the most while they are teaching others.”


Danielle Sanders

Danielle Sanders, BSEd ’21, All-Level Special Education
Self-contained classroom, first-third grades

“The Baylor School of Education was such a fabulous program to be a part of, and it has helped shape me into the educator I am today. . . . While I gained a plethora of experience and skills while in my role as a first-year teacher, I felt myself being called to a career other than traditional classroom teaching. . . . There are so many ways my Baylor Education degree has allowed me to open myself up to new possibilities.”


Cole Sussman, BSEd ’21, Elementary Education
Fourth Grade
Spring Valley Elementary,

Midway ISD

“I had chosen a difficult text about a troubled boy who joins a track team and has to learn how to be a teammate. . . . I asked my students the meaning of a quote from the coach character. . . .I received silent stares in response as they eliminated any literal meaning and began to think through the figurative. Then my sweet trouble-maker spoke up and said, ‘It means that you can’t escape who you really are; you have to face it and learn from it.’ He went on to tie this to the symbolism of colors in the book — red when the character was angry, black when he was remembering hardships, silver for hope. . . . and then a lively discussion began.”


Angela Tallent

Angela Tallent, BSEd ’21
Algebra II (tenth/eleventh grade)

Westlake High School,
Eanes ISD

“I remember how nervous I was before school started. The closer I got to the first day of school, the more I would ‘practice’ exactly what I was going to say to my class periods, as if it were a script and I was performing a play! I can laugh at how nervous I was to be interacting with my students on that day because they turned out to be my very favorite people to spend every single day of the year with. . . . After completing my very first year as a real-life-actual-adult teacher . . . I think this might have been the best year of my life so far.”


Continue Reading →

August 1, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Building Engaged Citizens: iEngage Summer Civics Institute on Baylor Campus Aug. 1-5 [08/01/2022]

Baylor iEngageBaylor’s nationally recognized iEngage Summer Civics Institute is returning to the Baylor University campus for the first time since 2019, hosting nearly 100 rising middle school students Aug. 1-5.

The free civics camp recently was named the 2022 recipient of the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education — an annual award, presented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), that recognized iEngage for its work to promote, inspire, improve and lead innovation in the field of civics education related to the justice system. iEngage director Dr. Karon LeCompte accepted the award in Chicago in late July.

iEngage focuses on the structure of government, what it means to be an active and engaged citizen and how participants can make an impact as young people. Baylor School of Education students are program counselors, giving them an opportunity to practice valuable skills and work with young people. Additionally, the institute features a field trip to a legislative library to explore primary source artifacts, simulations of effective communication and deliberation hosted by Baylor Law School, opportunities to meet with local civic and political leaders and playing iCivics online games.


July 26, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Making a Wise Investment in School Leaders [07/26/2022]


David and Sara Morehead believe investing in educators is a way to create significant impact through their charitable giving.

The idea of “investment” is generally to turn something into more, according to Baylor University’s chief investment officer, David Morehead, who is certainly an expert on investing after decades of senior-level experience at large financial institutions. Morehead and his wife, Sara, also consider “investment potential” when they choose targets for their charitable giving. That strategy — along with an appreciation for the value of education and educators — led the Moreheads to make an investment in Baylor School of Education’s MA in School Leadership program through scholarship donations.

“We absolutely see scholarship support of Christian leadership as a strategic investment,” David Morehead said. “We read the parable of the talents in Scripture, where the good servants were lauded for using their gifts to provide an ‘investment’ on the money entrusted to them. Because we view giving through the lens of faith, we want to tie our interests in students and education to our faith. What better way to do that than providing scholarship access to a program at Baylor that is unapologetically focused on developing people of faith who will use their gifts and talents in an educational setting!” Continue Reading →

July 18, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor SOE Math for Early Learners Academy (MELA) Helps Young Students [07/18/2022]

Baylor MELA

Baylor senior Bailey Lewallen is teaching local students at the School of Education’s MELA (Math for Early Learners Academy) during July.

After a 2020 hiatus due to COVID and a 2021 program embedded in a local summer school, Baylor University’s Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA), sponsored by the Baylor School of Education (SOE), has returned to the Baylor campus July 5-28 to host students ages 4 to 6 at the Mayborn Museum.

The summer program, designed for students who have just finished PreK or kindergarten and directed by Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education, aims to establish a solid foundation in “number sense,” especially for students who have been identified as having difficulty in mathematics.

The program, which has measurably helped young students ages 4-6 achieve or exceed grade-level expectations in early math skills and number fluency, continues to test its new curriculum and assessments and conduct research on “teacher noticing” that studies the Baylor teacher-education students who are teaching in the program.


July 1, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Dr. Jon Eckert Receives Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award [07/01/2022]

Dr. Jon EckertDr. Jon Eckert, professor of Educational Leadership and the Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair for Christians in School Leadership, received the Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching for Tenured Faculty. Eckert completed his doctorate at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and then worked in both the Bush and Obama administrations on teaching quality issues. Before coming to Baylor in 2019, Eckert taught and coached intermediate and middle school students outside of Chicago and Nashville for 12 years and spent 10 years on the faculty of Wheaton College teaching education majors.

Eckert teaches Baylor students at all levels — undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral. He teaches undergraduates in Baylor’s Leadership Minor, master’s students in the MA in School Leadership program, and doctoral students pursuing degrees in K12 Educational Leadership — all programs in the Department of Educational Leadership. Continue Reading →