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Outstanding Seniors Honored by Baylor School of Education [05/17/2021]


Seniors 2021

Baylor School of education 2021 Outstanding students with Associate Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon

Baylor School of Education [SOE] recognized six seniors as outstanding students at the 36th Annual Senior Recognition Banquet April 26. Seniors were recognized for their excellence in academic and fieldwork in education programs and their readiness to impact the world. Baylor SOE senior award recipients (biographies below) for 2021 are:

• Cole Sussman — EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award
Angela Tallent — Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education
Julia Gates — Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education
Emily Dickey — Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education
Mary Cade — M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education
Samantha Schwartz — Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs

EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award

Cole Sussman

Cole Sussman

Cole Sussman, an Elementary Education major with supplemental certification in Gifted and Talented Education, from Rogers, Arkansas, was named the 2021 EDICUT Pre-Service Educator of the Year. 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).

Sussman said, “I want to teach because I am passionate about fostering a love of learning in students. I love differentiating according to each student’s individual strengths, interests, and needs. I enjoy building deep relationships with students, evaluating benchmark data, and utilizing formative assessments to create engaging, challenging content for each of my students.”

Sussman is a member of the honor society Alpha Lambda Delta, as well as the BIC (Baylor Interdisciplinary Core) honors program. She was on the Dean’s List through all four years at Baylor and graduated summa cum laude in May with a BSEd.

Sussman’s Baylor University Intern Supervisor Maryann Hebda said, “Ms. Sussman differentiates every lesson for students with a wide range of skill levels in her fourth-grade classroom. She is visibly excited when receiving screening and benchmark data, because she analyzes results, then designs and implements appropriately challenging educational experiences for students from a variety of backgrounds. Cole’s interactive lessons engage students, and she constantly analyzes their responses to adjust instruction and ensure that all students have access to learning.”

Sussman will be staying in Waco in the fall to teach fourth grade ELAR (English, Language Arts, Reading) at Spring Valley Elementary in Midway ISD, where she did her internship.

Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education

Angela Tallent

Angela Tallent

Angela Tallent, a Secondary Mathematics major from Baytown, Texas, was named the 2021 Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education.

Tallent said, “As a first-generation college student, applying for scholarships in high school was so foreign to me. I was surrounded by so many teachers who had built relationships with me and supported me. I felt called to become an educator when I realized how much they cared for me and prepared me to have a successful future. Between the relationships I built with them and seeing their genuine care and support for me, I knew I wanted to be the same kind of educator for my future students.”

Tallent is a member of Chi Omega sorority and was on the Dean’s List several semesters during her time at Baylor. Tallent graduated cum laude in May with a BSEd. In fall 2021, she will teach Algebra II at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas.

Tallent’s mentor teacher was Joshua Dietert, BSEd ’16, Midway High School mathematics teacher, who received the M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education when he graduated from Baylor. Dietert said, “Ms. Tallent’s teaching this year transcended the classroom, preparing students for their futures after high school. Her upbeat attitude provided a safe place for students to learn, grow, and make mistakes. Her consistency empowered her to make deep connections with her students as someone who can be trusted and relied on. Ms. Tallent’s personal growth and confidence in teaching has blossomed over the last year, making her one of the top pre-service teachers. Her desire to continually improve, reflect, and grow will lead her to become one of the top teachers in her field at her next school.”

Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education

Julia Gates

Julia Gates

Julia Gates of San Antonio, Texas, received the Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education for 2021.

Gates said, “I want to teach because of the teachers I had growing up. I always loved going to school because of the environment and encouragement created by my teachers. I hope to have the same impact on my future students. In addition, my parents have always instilled in me the importance of learning. Teaching allows me to be a lifelong learner!”

During her time at Baylor, Gates was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She graduated magna cum laude with a BSEd in Elementary Education in May. This fall she will be teaching first grade at Lowery Elementary in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD outside of Houston.

Her Baylor University Intern Supervisor Melissa Dever Cates noted that Gates “has moved beyond teaching curriculum to evaluating student data to drive instruction. She is pulling small groups in both guided reading and guided math. She is using data to differentiate lessons for her groups. She uses technology to support her teaching. Both her action research and her virtual teaching have been accepted to be presented at NAPDS.”

Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education

Emily Dickey

Emily Dickey

Emily Dickey of Garland, Texas, a middle grades social studies major, received the Award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education.

Dickey said, “I want to teach to change the world, one student at a time. The students are why I teach. I want to give students a safe place to be in a chaotic world. Students need the tools to think critically about the world around them in order to know the ways they can impact it.”

While at Baylor, Dickey held the titles of social chair, secretary, vice president, and president of the Swing Dance Society, and was a member of the Baylor Alpha Delta Pi chapter, serving as All University Sing Chair in 2019. She was a section leader in Baylor’s concert choir during the 2018-2019 school year; a member of the highly selective women’s ensemble group Bella Voce; and a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education. She graduated in May with a BSEd. Dickey plans to teach social studies in a middle school near the Dallas, Texas, area.

Baylor SOE Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Neil Shanks said, “Emily is a brilliant student who critically analyzes all aspects of curriculum in thinking about how to best serve her own students. She is a leader in our classroom and uses her keen understanding of important educational issues to help drive our conversations into deep and relevant concerns in the field of social studies and education writ large. Her lesson plans show that she is able to translate these considerations into her field placement and ensure that her students receive a relevant and meaningful education.”

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

Mary Cade

Mary Cade

Mary Cade of Gainesville, Florida, a history major with a concentration in Secondary History Education, received the M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education.

Cade said, “As a history teacher, I want to give kids the tools to be active citizens who understand our modern world and can think for themselves. Seeing kids engaged in history and building historical empathy is so rewarding.”

During her time at Baylor, Cade was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, the academic honor society Phi Alpha Theta, as well as the international honor society in education, Kappa Delta Pi. She graduated in May with a BA and is certified to teach history in grades 7-12.

Cade’s Mentor Teacher at Midway Middle School Laura Schmeltekopf said, “From the moment she joined me in my classroom, she revealed her creativity, commitment and compassion to our history team, our school, and most of all to our students. Mary has brought so much to our learning environment. Every step of the way this semester, she has brought positive, helpful, creative lessons, activities, and has grown as a teacher. She will be one who changes the lives of young people. She will provide them a rigorous education but will also help them be on their way to responsible adulthood. I am blessed to be a small part of Mary’s journey, and look forward to all that she will accomplish.”

Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs

Sam Schwartz

Sam Schwartz

Samantha Schwartz, an all-level special education major from San Diego, California, received the 2021 Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs. She graduated from Baylor University in May with a BSEd in All-Level Special Education.

“I want to be a special education teacher because I myself struggled in school, and I want my students to know that just because they are in special education does not mean that they cannot live an amazing life,” Schwartz said. “I want to inspire students and help them be successful and proud of themselves.”

Intern Supervisor Maryann Hebda said, “Sam was virtual fall semester in a self-contained special education classroom, and built relationships with her students so strong that the kids sometimes carried the iPad with ‘Miss Sam’ on drills and outside during breaks. She created tech-based interactive activities for students and differentiated as they came to her station, adapting to each individual’s unique strengths and needs.”

Schwartz’s Mentor Teacher at Midway Middle School Elena León said, “Our class has absolutely loved having Samantha as an intern. She brought creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving skills to every Zoom every day (that’s a lot of Zooms!). She found ways not only to teach through a Zoom call but to engage students so that they were actually learning. Samantha is always willing to try new things to be continually meeting the needs of our students. Samantha has stepped up to the plate and become an outstanding educator and leader.”

— 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 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.

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