Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

Dr. Ryann Shelton Honored with SSMA Dissertation Award [04/28/2021]


Dr. Ryann SheltonDr. Ryann Shelton, PhD ’20, was recognized by the School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) with the SSMA Dissertation Award at the virtual convention this past fall.

Shelton was nominated for the award by her mentor and dissertation chair, Dr. Trena Wilkerson, Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

The purpose of Shelton’s study was to examine the practices of mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) — in this case, university and college instructors who prepare future mathematics teachers, specifically those who will teach in grades 9-12 — and how they design curriculum and plan for teaching content within a secondary mathematics methods course. She examined course content through the lens of the Mathematics Teaching Practices described by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) 2014 publication, Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. The dissertation was titled “An Examination of Designing and Planning for the Teaching of Secondary Mathematics Methods Courses through the Lens of Mathematics Teaching Practices: A Multiple Case Study.”

Shelton received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University, earning a BA in Mathematics with a minor in German and a teaching certificate. She then received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, also at Texas A&M. She taught high school mathematics for six years and also worked as a mathematics instructional specialist for two years.

Since graduating from Baylor with her PhD in Curriculum and Teaching in May of 2020, Shelton has been serving as a visiting lecturer in Baylor’s School of Education. She teaches undergraduate and graduate education courses. She also teaches in Baylor’s EdD in Learning and Organizational Change online program.

When beginning her dissertation studies, Shelton was a first-time teacher of a secondary mathematics methods course at Baylor, which served as an inspiration to her. Shelton began to wonder how other mathematics teacher educators made decisions about what to focus on in their courses. This idea would develop into the award-winning dissertation.

While writing the dissertation, Shelton worked with various Baylor faculty members.

“Each time I work with someone new, I learn from them,” Shelton said, “I will carry with me what these mentors have taught me for years to come.”

In fact, Shelton found throughout her studies that research shows mathematics teacher educators often consider what they learned from their doctoral studies mentors as they design curriculum and plan for teaching secondary mathematics methods courses.

Shelton expressed gratitude for Dr. Wilkerson, who is currently president of NCTM, as well as her other dissertation committee members:

  • Dr. Sandi Cooper, SOE Professor and Director of the Mathematics Education Program
  • Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, Associate Professor in Science Education, Associate Dean of the SOE, and 2018-2020 President of SSMA
  • Dr. Tommy Bryan, Senior Lecturer in Baylor’s Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts & Sciences

It is Shelton’s hope that her studies will prove to be helpful to the broader community of mathematics teacher educators, but specifically those who teach secondary mathematics methods courses as they make decisions on what to focus on in their courses.

–By Katie Coats

For more news from Baylor School of Education, visit the Instant Impact home page.
For media inquiries, please contact / (254) 710-6435.


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.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.