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Dr. Lacy Crocker Papadakis Honored with The Baylor Distinguished Staff Leadership Award


by Lia Hood

Baylor School of Education staff member Dr. Lacy K. Crocker Papadakis received the 2024 Baylor Distinguished Staff Leadership Award. Papadakis serves as Director of the Research and Writing Development Center (RDWC) in the EdD in Learning and Organizational Change program and is also Affiliate Clinical Professor in the program. She serves the program and students through research, defense committee service, and defense preparation guidance.

The award was presented April 16 by Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone and recognizes supervisors who contribute to and demonstrate a commitment to the Baylor mission through strong leadership qualities, encouraging professional development, and creating a culture of excellence on their team.

Papadakis completed her Ph.D. in the Hebrew Bible at Baylor in 2020 and received the Master of Divinity (MDiv) from the Reformed Theological Seminary in 2013. She earned a BS in Business Administration at Anderson University and underwent Language Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Seville. She is a member of three academic societies including the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.

Team building, encouragement, and inclusion are some of the many qualities Papadakis’ Baylor colleagues highlighted in nominating her for the award. They pointed out her creation of the “Writers in Community” workgroup, which has allowed those in the RDWC to fine tune their writing skills and encourage each other as writers and colleagues.

Dr. Nadine Franz, Senior Academic Writing Consultant and Affiliate Clinical Professor, said that Papadakis has been a role model and mentor to many. “She is always available to meet as often as we need her,” Franz said. “I have learned a great deal from her, and her knowledge, intellect, professionalism, patience, and kindness inspire me. Her commitment to our students is evident in her advocacy for them.”

Dr. Joshua Smith, Assistant Director of the Research and Writing Development Center and Affiliate Clinical Professor, said that Papadakis goes above and beyond “The ways that I have seen and experienced her tremendous efforts include her speedy responses to a constant flow of formatting questions, her kindness and wisdom in her guidance for student interactions, and her vast improvements to the processes that undergird the center’s functioning,” he said.

Papadakis has played a major role in aiding students in furthering their education by using her own knowledge of graduate school requirements and creating a system that digitized document management for student submissions. She is also the liaison for Faculty Advisors (23 total faculty currently) who shepherd students through the dissertation process.

Dr. Nick Werse, Senior Director of Operations for the EdD-LOC, said Papadakis’s system ensures that, as students approach the defense and graduate process, they are meeting all of the Graduate School requirements by the deadlines.

“Dr. Papadakis is an outstanding colleague, leader, and advocate for students,” said Dr. Ryann Shelton, Lecturer and Faculty Advisor of the Baylor EdD-LOC Program. “Her work and careful support of faculty, staff, and students is critical to our program’s success.” Shelton added, “Lacy works with different groups of faculty advisors and doctoral students each term, and I am always impressed with her consistency, thoughtful flexibility, and continued grace. I am confident that when I am facing a difficult situation involving a dissertation, I can turn to Dr. Papadakis for support. She is truly outstanding.”

Dr. Corina Kaul, Lecturer and Faculty Advisor, said that without Papadakis, “The EdD would fall apart, because it would be impossible for the advisors, including myself, to shepherd the number of students we serve across the finish line in completing their dissertations.” She went on to highlight how Papadakis’ “organizational skills and productivity literally sustain the program for the university. She is a consummate professional when dealing with the time pressures of guiding hundreds of documents reviewed and meeting graduate school deadlines.”

Papadakis said, “This award is incredibly special to me, and it reflects the amazing colleagues I work with in the EdD-LOC program. I’m so thankful for their support and recognition.”


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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 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.

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