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Baylor School of Education’s Center Updates Name [02/02/2021]

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BCSL 2020 WInter Leadership Seminar

The Winter Leadership Seminar, held Jan. 30, 2020, was the last in-person education event for the newly renamed Baylor Center for School Leadership. Switching to virtual events in March, the Center provided webinars for more than 800 school leaders in 2020. Virtual institutes in 2021 are already serving more than 100 leaders per month.

Baylor School of Education’s Center for Christian Education has changed its name to the Baylor Center for School Leadership (BCSL) to better reflect its mission to serve school leaders.

Matt Thomas

Dr. Matt Thomas, speaking at the 2019 Academy for Teaching and Learning

Dr. Matt Thomas, Executive Director of the Center for School Leadership, said the name change does not reflect any change in the Center’s mission. “Be assured our mission and aim will not change, nor will the centrality of the Christian faith be diminished in any way,” he said. “In fact, this name change will enhance our ability to serve Christian schools and Christian leaders.”

The Center serves Christian independent schools and their leaders and also offers programming for Christians serving in any type of school in the U.S. and abroad. Its programs include conferences, symposia, and field-based consultative services aimed at all levels of school leadership. Recent offerings have provided professional and leadership development opportunities for teachers (organized by grade and subject level), heads of independent schools, financial leaders and board members for independent schools, and those in public education settings.

The Center’s previous name sometimes caused confusion, Thomas said. Because the term “Christian Education” is also used to describe church services, such as Sunday School or Vacation Bible School, the Center often fields requests for church resources, rather than for school settings. In addition, the Center offers programs that are appropriate for continuing education of teachers and leaders serving in public school settings, and the new name will reduce any hesitation or bureaucratic barriers to their participation.

Dr. Jon Eckert

Dr. Jon Eckert, leading one of dozens of webinars for Christian school leaders

“We will be able to more effectively support the most influential Christian leaders in all school contexts,” Thomas said.

Dr. Jon Eckert, Baylor Copple Professor in Christian School Leadership and the academic leader for the Center, said the Center is growing and the new name will enhance that. During 2020, the Center switched to virtual delivery of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and provided more than 60 webinars for more than 800 teachers and administrators, exceeding its pre-pandemic plans. Continuing these in 2021, BCSL will serve another 100-plus school leaders in February alone.

“We have worked with some of the most effective Christian leaders, both teachers and administrators, across diverse school contexts this past year,” Eckert said. “Through unprecedented challenges, they have led with humility, grace, and boldness. Now with the launch of Baylor’s MA in School Leadership this June and the work of the BCSL, Baylor is the best place in the U.S. to catalyze school improvement for leaders who are grounded in Christ.”

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The Center for School Leadership, situated in Baylor University’s School of Education, values and promotes the value of Christian schools and the leadership of Christians in all types of schools in the U.S. and abroad. The CSL equips leaders for impactful, innovative, mission-minded service in distinct school settings. The CSL also equips schools with a diverse portfolio of activities that range from research to leadership development initiatives, the convening of conferences and symposia, and field-based consultative services. Ultimately, the CSL aims to create an avenue for education leaders to provide contextualized transformational leadership that positively impacts students and society.


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 school’s growing 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. Visit to learn more.

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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  1. Pingback: School of Education’s leadership center clarifies its title | The Baylor Lariat

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