Baylor School of Education [SOE] recognized seven seniors as outstanding students at the 37th Annual Senior Recognition Banquet April 21. 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 2022 are:
• Elizabeth Richey — EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award
• Hannah Harris — Delores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education
• Emily Blackwell — Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education
• Leslie Wolff — Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education
• Katherine Kaiser — M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education
• Colleen Coudriet — Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs
• Jaque Vasquez — Outstanding Student with Minor in Education
EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award
Elizabeth Richey, a middle grades English major from Richmond, Texas, was named the 2022 EDICUT Pre-Service Educator of the Year. Known as “The Dean’s Award,” the award is presented at each private university education program in Texas by the Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (EDICUT). During her senior year, Richey was a teaching intern at Midway Middle School in Midway ISD in the classroom of mentor teacher Jennifer German.
Richey said, “I want to teach for all the students who feel unheard, unseen, and lost. At one point, I was that student, and I needed a teacher with a personal touch. Now that I teach, I keep that philosophy with me always and try to reach every back-row student.”
While at Baylor, Richey was a member of the Golden Key International Society, the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, as well as Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society for education.
According to Richey’s intern supervisor, Ashleigh Maldonado, “Lizzie is an outstanding intern. She is eager to improve and humble enough to solicit feedback and act upon the notes she receives. She is a creative thinker dedicated to developing engaging material for all of her students.”
Richey’s mentor teacher, Jennifer German, said, “I cannot begin to say what a joy it has been teaching beside Miss Richey. While she is knowledgeable, professional, and hardworking, that is not her greatest asset as a teacher. Lizzie’s greatest gift is her loving heart. Lizzie exemplifies the ideal of ‘loving your neighbor.’”
Delores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education
Hannah Harris, a secondary English major from Lorena, Texas, received the 2022 Dolores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education Award. Harris was a teaching intern at Midway High School in Midway ISD in the classroom of Beverly Roper.
Phi Delta Kappa is professional education association for educators around the world, and Dr. Coker was a longtime faculty member in Baylor SOE.
Harris said, “My passion for teaching began to grow once I came to the realization that education can truly be the way out for students from any background. I love to teach because of the relationships I get to build with my students and for the opportunity to guide students towards reaching their full potential.”
While at Baylor, Harris was a member of Kappa Chi Alpha, the School of Education Student Advisory Council, and the Baylor Student Foundation. Harris also excelled academically as a member of both the Academic Dean’s List and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.
Harris’ intern supervisor, Tamara Roznos, said, “Hannah is an outstanding young teacher beyond her years in maturity and ability to engage students through higher level thinking and questions. Hannah puts her all into her preparation and teaching and stands out among her peers.”
Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education
Emily Blackwell, an elementary education major from Plano, Texas, received the Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education. Blackwell was a teaching intern at Hewitt Elementary in the classroom of mentor teacher Valerie Taylor. The award is named for Lorena Stretch, Ph.D., who was dean of the SOE from 1935 – 1957 and the school’s longest-serving dean.
Blackwell said, “I love teaching because I leave work every day knowing I am making a difference. All of my hard work is immediately seen and appreciated by students who will impact the future.”
During her time at Baylor, Blackwell was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, in which she held several positions, the Baylor Dance Company, and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. Blackwell also served as the Pi Kappa Phi sweetheart.
Blackwell’s intern supervisor, Dr. Barbara Cassidy, said, “Emily shows her dedication to her studies by producing high quality work, as well as portraying professionalism in the classroom. As a classroom teacher, Emily is proactive. She arrives in her classroom early and is always ready to teach before her students arrive. She consistently evaluates how her students are progressing and uses this information to direct future learning experiences. She chooses the best assessment techniques to match her intended outcomes. Students find Emily warm, pleasant, approachable, and accepting of student differences.”
Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education
Leslie Wolff, a middle grades mathematics major from Plano, Texas, received the award for Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education. She was also recognized as an outstanding student in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at Baylor University’s Academic Honors Convocation. Wolff was a teaching intern at Woodgate Intermediate in the classroom of mentor teacher Cara Neathery.
Wolff said, “Many of my teachers have made an incredible impact on me, and entering into a career where I can impact even one child is a path I will forever pursue.”
While at Baylor, Wolff was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha and Kappa Delta Pi.
Wolff’s intern supervisor, Dr. Rachelle Rogers, said, “Leslie is willing to push the boundaries of comfort and implement new strategies and ideas in order to enhance the learning experience for students. Leslie immediately takes instructional ideas and suggestions offered in seminar and tries them in her classroom. Leslie also took the initiative to share her instructional strategies with the mathematics community by presenting at the Central Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics spring conference. Leslie is a dedicated, intelligent young professional who is dependable, open-minded, collaborative, and responsible. She will soon be an exceptional leader in education.”
Wolff’s mentor teacher Cara Neathery added, “Leslie has been an amazing intern and such an asset to my classroom this year. Our students love her, and she has made an impact on so many of them. Leslie does an amazing job planning engaging lessons and working with students. I believe that Leslie will be an outstanding teacher.”
M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education
Katherine Kaiser, a secondary English major from Houston, Texas, received the M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education. Kaiser was also recognized as an outstanding student in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at Baylor University’s Academic Honors Convocation. She was a teaching intern at Waco High School in the classroom of mentor teacher Alisa Keen.
Kaiser said, “Teaching allows me to form lasting relationships with students that need it the most. I hope to unlock their potential and show them that they are more than capable of success.”
During her time at Baylor, Kaiser was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.
Kaiser’s intern supervisor, Ashleigh Maldonado, said, “Kat is a leader among her peers. Although she had a split placement at the beginning of the year, she maintained a positive attitude and continued to work hard despite four preps. Kat is extremely reflective and receptive to feedback. She is particularly thoughtful about her approach when dealing with difficult students, and she is always looking for new ways to serve her students and her peers.”
Kaiser’s mentor teacher Alisa Keen said, “Katherine Kaiser was an amazing intern, and I know she will be an amazing teacher! She intuitively knows how to build relationships with teens, and the students adore her. She creates amazing lessons that engage the students and has a great sense of humor and is not afraid to have fun with her students. She has an incredible teaching career ahead of her.”
Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs
Colleen Coudriet, an all-level special education major from Franklin Park, New Jersey, received the Award for Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs. She was also recognized as an outstanding student in the Department of Educational Psychology at Baylor University’s Academic Honors Convocation. She was a teaching intern at River Valley Intermediate in Midway ISD in the classroom of mentor teacher Andra Speerbrecher.
During her time at Baylor, Coudriet was a member of the national women’s fraternity Alpha Chi Omega.
Coudriet said, “I love being able to be an advocate for students who are often forgotten. Being a special educator has allowed me to bring a voice to the voiceless and love to the most loving students.”
Coudriet’s mentor teacher, Andra Speerbrecher, said, “Colleen is a gifted and energetic teacher who takes a special interest in getting to know her students and their preferences. She works hard to make learning relevant and interesting for each one of them. We have been extremely fortunate to have her as part of our team this year.”
Her intern supervisor Joe Alford said, “Special Education is not just a department in a school building; it’s an attitude. Colleen is someone who embodies that attitude. She is caring, patient, and flexible with her students. She holds them accountable when necessary, challenges them to improve, and treats them respectfully. With her peers, she’s a leader that takes initiative and generates helpful ideas and suggestions for them in their classrooms.”
Outstanding Student with Minor in Education
Jaque Vasquez of San Marcos, Texas, is the recipient of the award for Outstanding Student with a minor in Education. Vasquez graduated with a major in health science studies from Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences and a minor in secondary education. Vazquez was a teaching intern at Midway High School in the classroom of mentor teacher Amy Smith.
Vasquez said, “I love teaching because I get to connect with students meaningfully while also sharing my love for science with them.”
While at Baylor, Vasquez was a social committee member of the Bears Medical Student Association.
Vasquez’s mentor teacher, Amy Smith, said, “Jacque is most deserving. Her preparation for class was impeccable, and she was very adaptable and flexible when lessons needed to be tweaked or adjusted. One of her best qualities was her presence with the students. She was invested in their lives and really took the time to get to know her students. She attended many extracurricular activities to show our students she cared. They LOVED seeing her there and talked about it often and invited her to more events. She was a life saver when I had to be way and didn’t hesitate to do what was necessary to keep the classroom running. She used our first period conference time to sit in on another teacher’s biology class so that she was sure she covered everything she needed to while I was gone. Even after Jaque finished her intern responsibilities, she still came to help with dissections, review, or just to visit.”
— by Katie Coats
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ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Baylor’s School of Education celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. The school boasts a variety of academic program options across its three departments: Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, and Educational Psychology. Baylor’s award-winning undergraduate program in teacher education serves approximately 400 students and has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers with extensive clinical preparation.
More than 700 graduate students pursue advanced study and professional preparation in master’s, Ed.S., Ed.D., and Ph.D. programs. With exciting new academic initiatives both at home and abroad, the school is in a period of significant expansion and is poised for greater impact through the production of meaningful, high-quality research and the preparation of outstanding leaders, teachers, and clinicians. Visit www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITYBaylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
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