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Baylor School of Education Honors Seven Outstanding Seniors [05/07/2018]


Award Group - Baylor SOE

Baylor SOE award winners with Interim Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon

Baylor School of Education (SOE) recognized seven seniors as outstanding students at the 33rd Annual Senior Recognition Banquet April 26. Brad Livingstone, a history and government teacher at Vanguard College Preparatory School and husband to Baylor University President Linda Livingstone, spoke to a gathering of students, faculty, student mentors and family members before students received their honors. Livingstone acknowledged the challenges teachers face, but he encouraged the future educators to have courage, seek God and never give up on teaching.

EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award

Jamie Wong

Jamie Wong, a middle grades mathematics major from Taipei, Taiwan, was named the 2018 EDICUT Pre-Service Educator of the Year. This award, also known as the “Dean’s Award,” recognizes a student who most exemplifies the bright future for the teaching profession by the Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities in Texas (EDICUT).

Wong said, “I want to impact middle school students in the most shapeable time of their lives. Building relationships with the future generation is a passion of mine. With the love of Jesus, I hope to speak value and identity in to every student.”

Wong was the internal director for Steppin’ Out, a Baylor community service project, for three years during her time at Baylor. She also represented the SOE as a recruitment ambassador during her junior and senior years. Wong’s teaching internship was at Robinson High School. Wong’s mentor teacher in eighth-grade pre-algebra and algebra I teacher at Robinson High School, John Choins, said that Wong is well-known for leaving encouragement Post-it Notes for her students.

SOE Clinical Associate Professor Dr. Rachelle Rogers said, “Jamie is an exceptional person, student and educator. She is committed to providing the best learning environment for her students by constantly engaging them in rich activities that connect mathematics to real world situations and students’ interests.”

Wong will start a master’s program in the SOE Department of Curriculum & Instruction in summer 2018.

Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education

Erin ColemanErin Coleman, an elementary education major from Sugar Land, Texas, received the 2018 Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education. Coleman is also seeking certification in English as a Second Language (ESL).

“Teaching has been my passion and dream since I was in elementary school,” Coleman said. “I want to instill confidence in my students and help them see how they each have something special to offer.”

Coleman is a member of Baylor University’s Zeta Tau Alpha chapter and of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education. Her senior year teaching internship was at Mountainview Elementary School in Waco ISD under the teacher mentorship of Laura Alford, BSEd ’82.

“It has been my special joy and privilege to have Erin as my intern this year,” Alford said. “Working in a classroom with 19 very different personalities has provided many challenges, but Erin faced each challenge with a professional, caring attitude and exhibits wisdom well beyond her years and experience.”

Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education

Jessica WimberleyJessica Wimberley of Houston, Texas, won the Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education for 2018. Wimberley is seeking supplemental certification in Special Education.

“I want to teach to make a difference in the lives of all students,” Wimberley said. “Regardless of their language, diagnosis or other external factors, I want my students to feel successful in the classroom.”

Wimberley is the founder of Baylor’s Athletes Without Limitations, an organization that helps students with mental or physical disabilities play sports. She is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi.

“Jessica is well planned and provided new materials and apps for her classroom,” said Jonita Huffman, Wimberley’s internship supervisor in Baylor School of Education. “She differentiated for ESL and SPED students in her classroom and created pen pal and video activities so they could share in her study-abroad experiences.”

Wimberley served her teaching internship at South Bosque Elementary School and Castleman Creek Elementary, both in Midway ISD, under her mentor teachers Melissa Ellis and Kylie O’Donnell. In the fall of her senior year, Wimberley participated in the SOE Australia study-abroad program, where she spent three weeks teaching in the Camp Hill area of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education

Martha AdamsMartha Adams of Flower Mound, Texas, received the Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education of 2018. Adams is a middle grades mathematics major.

Baylor SOE Clinical Associate Professor Dr. Rachelle Rogers described Martha as an exceptional mathematics educator. “Martha embraces new instructional ideas and approaches that support the learning of each and every student,” Rogers said.

During her time at Baylor, Adams was involved in the Baylor Chamber of Commerce. She spent her teaching internship at Robinson Junior High School. Adams’ mentor teach was Amber Clemons.

“I want to teach to share my joy of learning and math with students,” Martha said. “My goal is to instill confidence in every student I teach. Teaching fulfills me when I see the joy that learning can bring.”

M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education

Rebekah TateRebekah Tate of Arlington, Texas, was the recipient of the M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education for 2018. She is majoring in secondary math education.

“I want to teach to be the mentor I have found in so many of my incredible teachers,” Tate said.

Tate served as a student executive director for the Baylor Leadership Living Learning Center during her senior year. She was also the vice president for pre-service teachers for the Central Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Tate’s intern supervisor, Sara Barrett, said that Tate has a positive and professional attitude that shines through her demeanor. “Rebekah created challenging, fun and creative lessons for her students, providing excellent opportunities for learning,” Barrett said. “She always has a smile for her students, peers and instructors.”

Tate’s teaching internship was at University High School in Waco ISD, and her mentor teacher was Caitlyn Layman.

Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs

Rachel WrightRachel Wright, an all-level special education major from Colorado Springs, Colorado, received the 2018 Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs.

SOE Clinical Associate Professor for the Department of Educational Psychology Tracey Sulak said, “Rachel is an outstanding student who exhibits all the characteristics we want to see in teachers. She’s outgoing, kind, reliable and talented.”

While at Baylor, Wright has been a member of Baylor’s Delta Delta Delta chapter. She also served as a community leader at Harris Creek Baptist Church, where she also worked in the children’s ministry.

“I want the world to see the tremendous value that each student inherently has,” Wright said. “I want to teach my students to celebrate strengths and differences.”

Wright spent her teaching internship at Woodway Elementary School in Midway ISD under the supervision of her mentor teacher, Corinne Stephenson. Wright was on the Dean’s List each semester at Baylor.


Award for Outstanding Student with Minor in Education

Jillian ElolfJillian Elolf, a history major, is the 2018 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Student with Minor in Education. Elolf grew up in a military family and graduated from Kingwood High School. She is seeking certification to teach secondary history.

“I love being able to help students understand and fall in love with history,” Elolf said. “I want to be able to change the world, and I believe there is no better way than through the hearts and minds of students.”

She spent her teaching internship at Cesar Chavez Middle School and is described as an outstanding young teacher by SOE Associate Professor and Department Chair for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction Brooke Blevins.

“[Elolf] did a remarkable job designing and executing lessons that encouraged her students to think critically about the world around them,” Blevins said. “She is extremely reflective about her teaching practice and is always looking for ways to improve as a teacher.”

—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.

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.

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