Baylor School of Education (SOE) recognized seven seniors as outstanding students at the 35th Annual Senior Recognition Banquet May 14. During the ceremony, held online due to COVID-19, students were recognized for their excellence and their readiness to impact the world. Baylor SOE senior award recipients (biographies below) for May 2020 are:
• Carley McNelly — EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award
• Caroline Reid — Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education
• Jordan Bringe — Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education
• Jamison Lawrence — Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education
• Augie Strauch — M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education
• Emily Holland — Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs
• McCauley Fuller — Award for Outstanding Student with Minor in Education
At the event, SOE Interim Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon told the students, “With all that has transpired this spring and what is yet to come, the faculty in the SOE have remained devoted to preparing you for the students who will depend on you to open the doors of learning and opportunity for them. I thank you for your commitment, and I look forward to the careers that are ahead of you.” He added, “Last year at this time, we celebrated what we christened the Centennial Class in the School of Education, in celebration of 100 years as a School. At that time, I did not think there would be a senior class that could possibly eclipse that in terms of being memorable; however, you seniors have earned that title now.”
The ceremony also included a special video message of congratulations from Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone and First Gentleman Brad Livingstone, who is a high school history teacher.
President Livingstone said, “We are so proud of the way you have made your way through this semester, and we are so excited that you are going to be teaching young people and changing lives. We look forward to you sending us lots of Baylor Bears that you have taught, to follow in your footsteps.”
Brad Livingstone said, “As an educator for 30 years, I can say that you are in for an incredible journey. Know that — even when it gets tough, and you are swamped with grading and maybe a parent complaint or two — you have the opportunity to make a difference in thousands of kids’ lives. Even the ones that are really difficult, remember that God has a plan for them.”
EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award
Carley McNelly of Lubbock was named the 2020 EDICUT Pre-Service Educator of the Year. McNelly graduated cum laude from Baylor in May with a BSEd in middle grades mathematics education. This award, also known as the “Dean’s Award,” honors a student who most exemplifies the bright future for the teaching profession by the Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities in Texas (EDICUT).
McNelly said, “I want to teach, so that I can give back to the community that raised me. Lubbock ISD teachers have had a tremendous impact on my educational career, and I know I would not be here today without them. I love getting to build relationships with students, and teaching them new concepts. It’s fun explaining difficult ideas to students, and watching the light bulbs go off.”
McNelly is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, in which she served on the Social Committee. In addition, McNelly was both a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a Dean’s List student.
“I have truly enjoyed being a part of the Baylor School of Education. The experiences I have had and the opportunities I was presented have prepared me to enter the classroom, confidently in August,” McNelly said.
According to Carley’s mentor teacher, Lisa Painter at Midway Middle School in Midway ISD, “Carley builds relationships and self confidence in her students. Her future students and the education world are blessed to have her.”
In the fall, McNelly will begin her teaching career in the Lubbock Independent School District, teaching eighth grade Algebra I at Dunbar College Preparatory Academy.
Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education
Reid’s mentor teacher, Valerie Taylor at Hewitt Elementary in Midway ISD, said, “It has been a pleasure mentoring Caroline Reid this past year. She has developed into such a talented, engaging, and dedicated teaching professional. Her genuine love for kids and ease within the classroom make for a truly magical experience for young learners.
Reid said, “Teaching is fulfilling to me because it gives me the opportunity to make connections with students and watch them as they grow. I have always wanted to be a teacher because of the impact my own teachers made on me. I owe everything to them, and I now hope to be the same source of comfort and guidance to my own students.”
“I have loved my experience at Baylor because of the meaningful relationships I was able to build with my professors and fellow students,” Reid said, “The School of Education has not only provided me with all the tools I need to succeed in the real world, but also a place that felt like home during my college experience.”
In the fall, Reid will continue at Baylor School of Education to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in twice exceptional learners.
Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education
Jordan Bringe of Plano, Texas, received the Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education for 2020. Bringe graduated summa cum laude from Baylor with a BSEd in elementary education.
Bringe said, “I love teaching with all of my heart, and I fully believe it’s why I was put on this Earth. I love building relationships with students as well as aiding them in and witnessing their academic success.”
During her time at Baylor, Bringe held the positions of Student Director and Move-in Coordinator for the Impact LLC, on campus housing rooted in creating a community for first-year education majors. Bringe also volunteered at both Friends for Life and the Humane Society of Central Texas.
“Baylor has been a dream of mine since I first visited the campus at 5 years old. I’ve had the time of my life at Baylor, loving every minute of every tradition and every class,” Bringe said, “The School of Education was a big part of my experience at Baylor. I had the greatest professors, and I was able to gain so much experience before stepping out into the world as a teacher on my own. I will forever be thankful for the four amazing years I had at the School of Education and Baylor itself.”
Bringe’s mentor teacher at Castleman Creek Elementary School in Midway ISD, Loraine Ludewig, said, “Jordan was an amazing asset to my classroom. She was always willing to try new methods and encouraged constructive criticism. She was professional with all things. The students trusted her and worked hard because of it.”
In the fall, Bringe plans to begin her teaching career at an elementary school in the Frisco, Texas area, where she went to school.
Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education
Lawrence said, “I want to teach because so many different children from different backgrounds go to school. They are each unique, and teaching is an incredible opportunity to build relationships with these students and invest in their lives.”
Lawrence is a member of Chi Omega, in which she held the positions of both Social and Chili Cookoff Chair. Additionally, Lawrence was a member of the Central Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics and a Dean’s List Student.
Jamison’s mentor teacher, Ryan Armstrong of Midway Middle School in Midway ISD, said, “Jamison possesses all of the teaching tools needed to step into a classroom and make a huge impact, but what truly separates her are characteristics that are not found on an observational rubric. She carries such a joy, patience, and grace that will leave a lasting impact on students. I am certain that her students will consistently recognize her for the care and compassion that she extends to each of them.”
In the fall, Lawrence will be teaching seventh grade math at Midway Middle School in Midway ISD in Waco, Texas.
M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education
Strauch said, “I decided to become a teacher because I find fulfillment and purpose in helping students grow both academically and socially. I believe we need good teachers in the field who are there to support the students and help them develop into fully developed and socially conscious citizens.”
While at Baylor, Strauch was the Captain of the Baylor Rock Climbing Team, as well as a member of the international honor society, Kappa Delta Pi.
Strauch served his teaching internship year at University High School in Waco ISD, under mentor teacher Clark Nelson. “Augie remained flexible and adapted as obstacles presented themselves. I had peace of mind knowing that he could handle all the responsibilities placed upon him. Augie’s actions and attitude directly impacted the students in our classroom and made this year a success. It was a pleasure and a blessing to have him in the classroom.”
This fall, Strauch will be teaching world history at Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas, and plans to eventually pursue an advanced degree.
Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs
Holland said, “I want people to see that my students offer so much to the world, are intelligent thinkers, and are capable of greatness. More importantly, I want to empower my students and teach them to be confident in who God created them to be and embrace their unique qualities and abilities.”
While at Baylor, Holland was a member of the program Best Buddies, as well as a College Community Group Leader at Highland Baptist Church.
Holland’s mentor teacher, GayAnna Wagner at Robinson Primary School in Robinson ISD, said, “Emily is a natural teacher. Teaching is her calling. The peace she exhibits in her day-to-day work with our children attests to the fact that she was born to do this. She will touch many lives through her gifts.”
In the fall, Holland will be teaching Functional Academics for grades 1st-3rd at Robinson Elementary School in Waco, Texas.
Award for Outstanding Student with Minor in Education
McCauley Fuller of Spring, Texas, is the 2020 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Student with Minor in Education. Fuller graduated in May from Baylor with a major in health science studies in Baylor’s Robbins College and a minor in education.
Fuller said, “I come from a family of around 15 educators so teaching and education are things that I have been surrounded by since I was little. I have always had a love for children and originally thought that I wanted to take that passion towards the medical field by becoming a pediatrician. However, I shortly realized that what I actually wanted to do was combine my love for learning, science, and kids into one thing: teaching secondary science!”
While at Baylor, Fuller was a member of tChi Omega, in which she held the office of Secretary.
“I have enjoyed how much experience we have been able to have in the classroom,” Fuller said, “In addition, I have loved the relationships that I have been able to form with my professors. I know that each one of them is truly invested in me on a personal and professional level. From my sophomore to my senior year, each School of Education class that I have taken has given me a professor that will be there for me in a heartbeat.”
Fuller’s mentor teacher, Nancy Patel of Midway High School in Midway ISD, said, “I was so fortunate to have McCauley in my classroom. The students instantly connected with her, and she gained their complete trust from day one. She is just amazing, and I am so excited to see what her future brings.”
In the fall, Fuller will begin her career teaching science at York Junior High in Spring, Texas.
—By Katie Coats
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For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, leaders in K12 and higher education, psychologists, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the schoolâ€™s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylorâ€™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. Visit www.baylor.edu/soe to learn more.
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.