Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

June 16, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Impact Newsletter Online [06/16/2021]

Spring 2021 ImpactThe spring 2021 issue of Baylor Impact newsletter is now online and in the mail to alumni. If you do not receive a newsletter in the mail soon, please let us know by emailing BaylorImpact@baylor.edu. To make sure you don’t miss any future communications, you can also update your information online at this link: Update Your Information

The Spring Impact issue features the work of faculty, students, and alumni who are making a difference through education. This issue is notable for the number of award-winning faculty and students we are celebrating — people you’ll want to know about!

Read about exciting and impactful new grants helping children with developmental disabilities like autism and their families and teachers, new leaders in K12 education, national professional roles for faculty, and so much more!

Great news includes:

• The cover story shares the work of Dr. Stephanie Gerow, who has received a prestigious national grant to design a system to help agencies provide effective behavior interventions for children with developmental disabilities.

• SOE faculty members received three of the university’s Outstanding Faculty accolades this spring.

Dr. Trena Wilkerson is serving is a significant national role as president of NCTM, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, working to bring equity in math education.

New graduates in the K12 Educational Leadership program are making an impact in schools and districts from Texas to Washington, D.C.

• In our alumni profile, Isaac Gittens, MSEd ’16, tells what it’s like to work in the NFL and how to land a job there.

SOE news briefs share new books and other news, awards for doctoral students, significant new grants, and a multi-faceted science education project.

• And find out how scholarships are helping future teachers like Lana Brady make their vocational dreams come true.

May 17, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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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 Continue Reading →

May 10, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Dr. Laila Sanguras Receives Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award [05/10/2021]

Dr. Laila Sanguras, a lecturer in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, received the Baylor University Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching / Non-Tenure Track. Sanguras teaches primarily in the EdD Online in Learning and Organizational Change. While carrying a full teaching load, Sanguras also mentors students, directs dissertation projects, and takes the lead in revising course sequences and in developing new initiatives.

“Dr. Sanguras’s student evaluations are consistently strong,” said Dr. Brooke Blevins, Associate Professor, department chair, and Conwell G. Strickland Endowed Chair. “Students frequently comment on the thorough and meaningful feedback provided by Dr. Sanguras . . . and how genuine and engaging Dr. Sanguras is during live sessions of the course and how she takes the time to get to know each student.” Students also describe her as “firm but fair,” Blevins said. Sanguras’ areas of teaching include educational evaluation and mixed methods research. Continue Reading →

May 3, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Dr. Lakia Scott Receives Outstanding Faculty Award [05/03/2021]

Dr. Lakia ScottDr. Lakia Scott, Assistant Professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, received the Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching / Tenure-Track Faculty. She began teaching at Baylor in 2014 and is an expert in literacy, urban education, and in the social, cultural, and political influences on educational practices and schooling. She received tenure this spring, so her title will change to Associate Professor this summer, and she also becomes Graduate Program Director for the department in May.

“Her peers and students recognize Dr. Scott’s prowess as an outstanding teacher,” said Dr. Brooke Blevins, Associate Professor, department chair, and Conwell G. Strickland Endowed Chair. “She has a unique ability to capture the interest of her students and push them to think about new possibilities. Dr. Scott has amazing commitment to preparing teachers and educational leaders who will respond to the new reality of education — a reality of diversity, innovation, and rapid global change.”

Scott said she is deeply honored to receive the award, because teaching is one of the noblest professions. Her teaching philosophy is one of inclusiveness and positivity. Continue Reading →

April 28, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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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.” Continue Reading →

April 15, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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SOE Celebrating Alumni Week and Giving Day [04/15/2021]

Alumni Week Speakers

Baylor SOE Alumni Week video “The Heart of a Baylor Educator” features (l-r) Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke, Dr. Brooke Blevins, Dr. Tonya Davis, Dr. Jon Eckert

Baylor School of Education is celebrating Alumni Week and Giving Day this week. The SOE’s “Lunch & Learn” video for Alumni Week is available on demand now at this link:

“The Heart of a Baylor Educator” On Demand Video

The video features messages from:

  • Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke, Dean
  • Dr. Brooke Blevins, chair of Curriculum & Instruction
  • Dr. Tonya Davis, professor of Educational Psychology
  • Dr. Jon Eckert, professor of Educational Leadership

During Giving Day on April 14, the School of Education reached its goal of 100 donors, unlocking a challenge gift from Bobby Nail, 1976 graduate of Baylor School of Education. The challenge gift provides $20,000 in student scholarship funds, in addition to the $5,825 raised from 111 gifts on Giving Day.

Thank you, Baylor Family, for your generosity.

You can always access SOE giving links here:
Make a Gift to Baylor SOE

January 25, 2021
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor SOE Doctoral Student Wins National Award [01/25/2021]

Lori Leibowitz, Baylor EdD studentBaylor doctoral student Lori Leibowitz took on a new job just two years ago, and in that time she has totally redesigned the gifted education program in her Connecticut school district. Recently she received national recognition for her efforts, which have resulted in inclusion of more students in gifted education programs, beyond those who do well on traditional academic measures.

A student in Baylor School of Education’s EdD Online in Learning and Organizational Change (EDD-LOC) and District Coordinator for the Gifted and Talented Program in Norwalk (Connecticut) Public Schools, Leibowitz received the 2020 Gifted Coordinator of the Year Award from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Leibowitz holds an MA in education from Sacred heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and a BA in history from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. To her current job she brought more than 20 years of classroom and administrative experience in Connecticut elementary and middle-grades schools, including a seven-year stint teaching advanced learning programs. Continue Reading →

November 23, 2020
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Fall 2020 Issue of Impact Newsletter is Online [11/23/2020]

The fall 2020 issue of Baylor Impact newsletter is now online. This issue is online only, and alumni should have received an email with the newsletter today. If you did not receive an email with the newsletter, please let us know by emailing BaylorImpact@baylor.edu. To make sure you don’t miss any future communications, you can also update your information online at this link: Update Your Information

The Fall Impact issue features the work of faculty, students, and alumni who are making a difference through education. Read about exciting new academic programs, how our faculty are serving educators, and how student teachers are succeeding in the midst of a global pandemic.

Great news includes:

CCE Answers the Call — How the Center for Christian Education made the most of cancelled in-person workshops to reach thousands more in virtual settings.

Teacher Education in Challenging Times — SOE faculty and students are adjusting and succeeding on the Baylor campus and in local schools.

School Psychology Degree in Dallas — The SOE has extended its reach to the Metroplex, offering the EdS degree at the campus of Baylor’s Nursing School.

There’s more inspiration in the story of globe-trotting teacher and PhD student Kenley Bailey Ritter, BSEd ’06, and the heart-warming profile of Baylor supporters Jim and Kaye Patterson. news about the new MA in School Leadership and more.

October 12, 2020
by Baylor Instant Impact
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That Summer When . . . How teachers can “warm up a cold, virtual space” [10/12/2020]

Faculty Guest Blog by Tracey Jones

Tracey Jones, who teaches Spanish Education and ESL (English as a Second Language) in the School of Education, shares creative and successful teaching strategies she has employed in the current online environment. Jones taught ESL to SOE students this summer during Baylor’s “Summer of Discovery” and is a Baylor Lecturer in Modern Languages & Cultures.

Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2020 Newsletter of Texas TESOL
(Texas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)


It seems likely that one could begin a narrative with “That summer when…” and launch into a description of high temps, high anxiety and trips canceled, with images of teachers pivoting, prepping and re-prepping, and anyone who lived through it will nod knowingly and say: “That had to be Summer 2020.”

Many of us made an abrupt shift, beginning last March, to fully virtual teaching. I have been an online student in various programs since 2011, and this seemed to work to my advantage a bit. When colleagues were discovering the wonder of Zoom, I had been fortunate enough to be a student on Zoom since the application came out in 2013. I have experienced varying levels of teaching effectiveness from an online student perspective, and that background has afforded me a unique view as I put on my Online Teacher Hat. Continue Reading →

October 5, 2020
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Dr. Kelly Johnston Receives Laska Award for Doctoral Research [10/05/2020]

Dr. Kelly JohnstonDr. Kelly Johnston, Assistant Professor in the Baylor School of Education, won the 2020 John Laska Distinguished Dissertation Award in Teaching from the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC) for her recent dissertation research. Johnston joined the Baylor SOE faculty in 2018 and currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Johnston’s dissertation, (Re)Imagining Possibilities for Youth in Schools: A Rhizomatic Exploration of Youths’ Affective Engagement with Literacy, focuses on youths’ different forms of literacy engagement in the classroom and how these understandings can be used to rethink literacy teaching and learning in and out of schools. Johnston’s dissertation was part of her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching, which she earned in 2018 at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She previously earned her M.Ed. in Reading Education from Texas State University in 2011 and her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Baylor in 2004. Continue Reading →