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News from Baylor School of Education

SOE Center for Christian Education Welcomes Executive Director [08/08/2018]


Dr. Matt Thomas joined the Baylor School of Education (SOE) on Aug. 1 as executive director of the SOE’s Center for Christian Education. Founded in 1985, the CCE is dedicated to advancing evidence-based approaches to educational improvement and values-driven leadership through a range of programming and resources.

SOE Interim Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon said the center will undergo an expansion as the result of a significant gift to the SOE from Lynda, BSEd ’79 (MA ’85 in education from Texas Wesleyan College), and Robert, BBA ’80, MPA ’81, Copple of Frisco, and this appointment is an important first step in realizing an ambitious agenda for the center’s future.

“Matt’s background in Christian education and his commitment to the training of strong Christian leaders make him a perfect fit for the expanded role of the SOE’s Center for Christian Education,” Saxon said. “His expertise will launch a new era for the center and help shape its future.”

Thomas comes to Baylor from a position in California, where he served as executive director of a national radio ministry broadcasting on more than 600 stations. For more than 20 years, he has served in various roles within Christian schools, seminaries and Christian higher education institutions. His experience includes a stint as head principal of a diverse Christian school in Southern California.

“Being selected as the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Education is one of the greatest joys of my life,” he said. “I am both honored and privileged to be a part of the Baylor family and am excited to see the impact this center will have on the landscape of Christian education in this state and beyond. On behalf of my wife and daughters, we are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to many years at Baylor.”

Thomas was born in Iowa and raised in Orange County, California. He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 24 years and have three daughters — Emma (12), Eliana (9) and Abby (5).

Thomas says he is motivated by the joy God allows a person to experience when they invest in the life of another, and his central passion is to equip Christian leaders to assume a position of influence that will serve as a catalyst to effectively fulfill the mission of that institution. Thomas believes that the effectiveness of an institution is closely related to the quality, character and training of its leaders. For that reason, he says, he is committed to training leaders to purposefully address the seismic shifts facing Christian institutions today.

Saxon said the SOE is also seeking an academic leader for the CCE through a search for the Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership, a role in the Department of Educational Leadership that is endowed by the gift from the Copples.

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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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