by Humanities Texas and Baylor School of Education
Humanities Texas honored Ashley Gibson, EdD ’21, as one of 15 recipients of the 2022 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Award. Gibson received a $5,000 cash award, with an additional $1,000 for her school to purchase instructional materials. Gibson is a graduate of Baylor’s online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change. With a classroom career spanning 15 years, Gibson teaches English at Galena Park High School in Galena Park ISD.
Humanities Texas presents annual statewide awards to encourage excellence in teaching and recognize Texas classroom teachers who have made exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development, and extracurricular programming. Over 600 hundred teachers from across the state were nominated for this year’s awards. Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums, and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.
“A humanities education is important because it helps students learn the importance of community engagement and societal interdependence in a democratic society,” Gibson said. “Students and teachers alike engage in learning communities that are important spaces where relationships are built, and important social foundations are formed. Learners need humanities teachers who care not only about content, but about who they are as whole people, full of cultural capital with all of the rich, lived experiences that they bring.”
Dr. Tony Talbert, professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, said, “Dr. Ashley Gibson continues to distinguish herself as truly one of the best and brightest educators I have had the honor to collaborate with in my 37 years in public and higher education.” Talbert said that Gibson’s scholarly achievements as a student and educator contributed to the Baylor program’s recent recognition as Program of the Year by the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate. “Never satisfied with simply passively learning, Dr. Gibson became an active emerging scholar whose voice and vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice issues resulted in meaningful research publications and presentations that impact not only her field of scholarship, but the greater body of theory and practice in public and higher education.”
Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor and interim chair of Curriculum & Instruction, said Gibson was “not only an exemplary doctoral student, but insightful and a leader. She exemplifies our mission to prepare educators for leadership in a changing world; she is a transformative leader.”
Gibson has been active in strengthening educational communities, both inside and outside of the classroom. In 2016, Gibson created the Pen Symposium, a student-led, student-centered, and project-based learning experience involving research and writing, Socratic-style seminars, and argumentative speeches that provoke social change, among many other groundbreaking learning models. In the six years since its creation, the Pen Symposium has become a staple forum for students to share their ideas and voices with an authentic audience.
Since 2018, Gibson has worked with Project Curate Houston, a Non-Profit Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, as a consultant and curriculum writer. In January 2020, Gibson founded Interior Learning, LLC, an organization dedicated to building teacher and administrator capacity for teaching the humanities and more.
Tiffany Gipson, English teacher at Galena Park High School, said, “Morning circle time is a way Dr. Gibson encourages classroom culture and community. It is a safe space for students to express how they are feeling. I have seen firsthand the community and level of trust she has built with each student. Because she has established this culture, the students are very comfortable expressing themselves without fear. Dr. Gibson sees each student far beyond their academic success; her concern is more about who they will become and what contributions they’ll make to the world. She encourages them to have a voice and advocate for themselves if no one else does.”
Humanities Texas Executive Director Eric Lupfer said, “Humanities Texas is pleased to recognize the achievements of Ashley Gibson and Galena Park High School. She is a dedicated teacher who inspires students to love learning and motivates them to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”
Humanities Texas is currently accepting nominations for the 2023 Outstanding Teaching Awards. Additional information about Humanities Texas and its teacher award program is available at www.humanitiestexas.org.
For more than 100 years, the School of Education has advanced Baylor’s mission across the globe while preparing students for a range of careers focused on education, leadership, and human development. 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. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation. Likewise, the School of Education’s graduate programs have attained national recognition for their exemplary preparation of research scholars, educational leaders, innovators, and clinicians. Visit www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.
Baylor 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.