Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

March 27, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor Alumnae to Discuss Leading Texas Libraries [03/27/2023]


LEADING BAYLOR LIBRARIES (click for more event info)
Friday, March 31, 2:30 PM
Armstrong Browning Library and Museum

The Baylor Libraries will host a conversation, co-sponsored by the School of Education and featuring SOE alumna Mary Woodard, with Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director and Librarian Gloria Meraz and Texas Library Association President Mary Woodard, a School of Education graduate, on their journeys in education and librarianship, the current state of libraries in Texas, and the future of Texas libraries.

Mary Woodard

Mary Woodard

Gloria Meraz, director and librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Mary Marlow Woodard, president of the Texas Library Association (TLA), will be interviewed by Lori Fogleman, Assistant Vice President for Media and Public Relations at Baylor University on Friday, March 31, at 2:30 p.m. CDT at the Armstrong Browning Library & Museum. Conversation and a reception will follow. This event is free, open to the public, and available both in person and via Zoom Webinar.

Meraz and Woodard, both Baylor alumnae, hold the two highest positions in librarianship in Texas. Through the two organizations, their reach extends into all 254 counties and every metropolitan and rural area in the state.

Baylor librarian Kathy Hillman, who has worked with both women through TLA, said, “Mary and Gloria represent the best of our university and the best of our profession. For them to serve simultaneously is a first for Baylor since the fledgling Texas Library Association helped establish the state library and archives in 1909.”

Woodard graduated from Baylor in 1985 with degrees in Elementary Education and English and earned her library science degree from Texas Woman’s University in 1987. She served in the Mesquite Independent School District for 35 years as a school librarian, technology facilitator, and director of library services. In 2022, Woodard was elected president of TLA, the largest state library association in the United States. Continue Reading →

March 23, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor SOE Grad Honored for Mentoring Baylor Students [03/23/2023]

Amy Smith, BSEd ’99Story and Photo by Katy Durham, Panther Nation News, Midway ISD

Amy Smith, a Baylor School of Education 1999 graduate and biology teacher at Midway High School, was honored for her work mentoring Baylor students. She was named as the 2023 Outstanding Mentor Teacher by the South Central Area Network for Professional Development Schools. This regional honor recognizes exceptional educators who share a dedication to the field of teaching and the partnership between institutions of higher education and pre-K-12 schools.

Smith has hosted 13 Baylor students as full-year interns (senior student teachers), one-semester interns, and teaching associates (Baylor juniors) over the course of her 16 years as a mentor teacher at MHS.

“Mrs. Smith is a master mentor teacher,” Dr. Robin Wilson, Smith’s nominating colleague and Baylor University Professional Development School site coordinator, said. “She has developed an art for disseminating and exchanging her best instructional practices with interns assigned to her classroom.” Continue Reading →

March 16, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor University Announces $1.5 Million Gift Establishing New Chair in School of Education [03/16/2023]

Erik CarterBaylor University today announced a $1.5 million gift from anonymous alumni establishing an endowed faculty chair position to support innovative research and teaching focused on the flourishing of children and youth with disabilities. With an appointment in the Baylor School of Education and leading the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities, the faculty chair will accelerate interdisciplinary scholarship across the University and beyond.

The School of Education has named Erik W. Carter, Ph.D., as the inaugural chairholder. Carter previously held The Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Special Education at Vanderbilt University and co-directed the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. In this role, he will serve as executive director for the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) and help launch a new interdisciplinary institute on faith and disability.

READ MORE . . . .

March 13, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

Dr. Rishi Sriram Named Senior Scholar [03/13/2023]

Dr. Rishi Sriram

Dr. Rishi Sriram, associate professor in Baylor School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and director of the MSEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs, was selected as a Senior Scholar of ACPA (American College Personnel Association), a leading association in the field of higher education student affairs that advocates for the integration of research and scholarship in the practice of student affairs.

ACPA describes its Senior Scholars as “senior members of the profession who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to ACPA’s mission of transforming higher education by creating and sharing influential scholarship, shaping critically reflective practice, and advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments.” A maximum of 12 scholars may hold the position. Continue Reading →

March 3, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

Dr. Kelly Johnston: Literacy Studies Takes Reading Beyond the Printed Page [03/03/2023]

Kelly JohnstonBy Kelly Craine

Often when people hear the word literacy, they think about learning to read, but literacy involves much more than reading from the printed page. Literacy encompasses the everyday ways people use language to make meaning and communicate, said Kelly C. Johnston, B.S. ’04, Ed.D., assistant professor in the Baylor University School of Education, whose research focuses on how children and youth engage with literacy across diverse contexts and the implications for literacy development and well-being.

“It includes reading, writing, speaking and listening. Those are the fundamental things that we do with language to make meaning and communicate,” Johnston said.


February 13, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor SOE Graduate Receives National Dissertation Award [02/13/2023]

Dr. Jennifer Gonzales

Dr. Jennifer Gonzales

As a doctoral student in education at Baylor University School of Education, Jennifer Gonzales, EdD ’22, explored deeply the role of data-informed practices in K-12 mathematics education. Simultaneously, in her fulltime career as an instructional specialist for mathematics, curriculum, and instruction in San Antonio’s Northside ISD, Gonzales noticed that evidence-based practices were not always reaching students. Teacher knowledge of best practices was not the problem, she believed, but gaps existed between the knowledge of the teachers and their actual teaching in the classroom.

For her dissertation at Baylor, Gonzales set out to discover the cause of the gaps and remove barriers to student learning. Her dissertation research — a five-phase mixed-methods study titled “Leveraging the Role of an Instructional Coach to Close Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Knowing-Doing Gap: A Mixed Methods Experimental Study” — earned her the Dissertation Award from the national School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA). Dr. Brooke Blevins, former Baylor faculty member and now dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Idaho, served as chair of Gonzales’ dissertation.

Gonzales follows two previous Baylor Department of Curriculum & Instruction recipients of the SSMA Dissertation Award — Ryann Shelton, PhD ’20, and Kurt Salisbury, MSEd ’03, PhD ’21. SSMA is a national organization, with international members, that was founded in 1901. The Dissertation Award recognizes dissertations related to science education, mathematics education, or integrated science and mathematics education and comes with a cash award and opportunities to share research. Continue Reading →

January 24, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

New Issue of Baylor Impact (Winter 2023) is Now Online [01/24/2023]

Impact Cover - winter 2023

The newest issue of Baylor Impact newsletter (Winter 2023) is now online. If you are an SOE graduate and did not receive a newsletter in the mail, please let us know by emailing To make sure you don’t miss any future communications, you can also update your information online at this link: Update Your Information

This Impact issue features exciting news about SOE programs, faculty, students, and alumni who are making a difference.

  • The cover story, “Finding their Voice,” shares the research and community outreach work that our social studies education faculty are doing through the iEngage Summer Civics Institute, co-founded by Dr. Karon LeCompte. On the Impact website, you can also find a video of Dr. LeCompte sharing research results and a look at iEngage in action.
  • As noted in this issue’s message from Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke, this Impact is full of faculty, student, and program accolades that stand out because of the range of the awards, which she notes is “not focused on one discipline or one person; it’s not exclusive to graduate or undergraduate programs; it’s not only about research or only about teaching; it’s all of these and more.”
  • You’ll learn about all those accolades and also meet an award-winning podcaster, the national student teacher of the year, the SOE’s fall cohort of new faculty, and supporters who give to the SOE because educators are a good investment.
    Continue Reading →

January 20, 2023
by Baylor Instant Impact

SOE Receives Autism Grant Award for Innovation from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board [01/20/2023]

Jessica Akers

Jessica Akers, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational psychology in Baylor University’s School of Educationhas received a $893,409 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop an innovative treatment model for children with autism and their siblings.

Akers has created an intervention program that intentionally focuses on improving the interactions between siblings. Sibling SUCCESS: Supporting Unique Collaborative Care to Encourage Shared Success invites the siblings of children with autism or “special siblings” to collaborate and participate as a vital member of the intervention team. Although behavioral interventions are highly effective for children with autism, these behavior programs – while including parents – do not address the importance the sibling relationship.

READ MORE at the Baylor Media site.

December 19, 2022
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor EdD Alumna Receives Prestigious Award [12/19/2022]

by Humanities Texas and Baylor School of Education

Dr. Ashley Gibson

Dr. Ashley Gibson

Humanities Texas honored Ashley Gibson, EdD ’21, as one of 15 recipients of the 2022 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Award. Gibson received a $5,000 cash award, with an additional $1,000 for her school to purchase instructional materials. Gibson is a graduate of Baylor’s online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change. With a classroom career spanning 15 years, Gibson teaches English at Galena Park High School in Galena Park ISD.

Humanities Texas presents annual statewide awards to encourage excellence in teaching and recognize Texas classroom teachers who have made exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development, and extracurricular programming. Over 600 hundred teachers from across the state were nominated for this year’s awards. Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums, and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans. Continue Reading →

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.