News and Announcements
Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities within the University School of Education is joining With Ministries on a new program called Worship as One: Learning with Children with Disabilities about Worship and Prayer. Lilly Endowment Inc. is supporting the program with a $300,000 grant to With Ministries.
Gaga for Gaga Ball, a fundraising project launched by Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of Sport Management, and the students taking his Athletic Fundraising and Development course at Baylor, aims to provide two gaga ball pits to Crestview Elementary School in Waco ISD.
Debbie Chou, B.S.Ed. ’23, is the fifth Baylor student teacher in recent years to be named the state’s Clinical Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Annmarie Crum, a December 2022 graduate of the EdD Learning and Organizational Change online program at Baylor University, was awarded Baylor’s Outstanding Dissertation Award for her work exploring inequities in STEM education.
Dr. Alicia Briancon, EdD ’23, instructor at College of Southern Nevada (CSN), a community college in Clark County, Nevada, received the Outstanding Research Paper Award for the Southeastern Universities Graduate Research Symposium (SUGRS).
It’s official — Dr. Mar Magnusen and his students in the MSEd Sport Management program set a Guinness World Record for the “Longest Line of Sleeping Bags” (1,203) set at Baylor's McLane Stadium on July 4. The project was designed to help homeless veterans in Texas.
Nearly 60 rising middle school students are attending Baylor University’s nationally recognized iEngage Summer Civics Institute. Led by SOE associate professor Dr. Karon LeCompte, also the program's co-founder, the camp teaches students how to advocate for community change.
Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor of mathematics education
Dr. Wilkerson is quoted in this national story, in which she notes the importance of viewing mathematics from its connectedness to help students, as well as teachers, understand more deeply.
“It’s about access and equity in mathematics. You can’t wait for geometry and statistics until students get to high school, or only a select few can take it,” Wilkerson, the Baylor University professor, said. “You have to integrate the geometry, the statistics, etcetera, from pre-K through elementary and middle school, so that students are getting a deep understanding of what they need in order to be able to make choices about the mathematics that they take in high school and that they pursue post-high school.”
Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor of mathematics education
MELA (Math for Early Learners Academy)
Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor of mathematics education
MELA (Math for Early Learners Academy)
SOE student Dominique Rendon
”When you think about math for early grades a lot of times people just think of counting,” MELA director Dr. Sandi Cooper said. “It really is more than that, and that’s the kind of thing that we do.”
Math really is fun and games at MELA as students learn number sense through dice and domino games. The program is based out of the Mayborn Museum and in between lessons the students get to explore the exhibits.
The four-week-long summer program is for incoming kindergarten and 1st grade students from La Vega, Waco and Midway ISD.
Dr. Erik Carter, the Luther Sweet Endowed Chair in Disabilities and executive director of the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities
“We are eager to collaborate with churches across the country to learn together what it looks like to do this work well and faithfully,” says Carter, the Luther Sweet Endowed Chair in Disabilities and executive director of the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities. “The Scriptures are clear that we are to be lavish with our invitations and our love. Indeed, our faith communities are incomplete without people with disabilities and their families.”
Dr. Mar Magnusen, Sport Management
Sam Esparza, 2023 Sport Management MSEd grad
Before the Guiness World Record attempt, the sport management students and Dr. Magnusen raised enough money to buy the sleeping bags, which will be given to homeless veterans in the fall through Waco One Stop and Baylor VETS.
With 1.203 sleeping bags lined up, the group beat the previous record of 550 by more than double!
The School of Education's MELA program has measurably helped young students ages 4-6 achieve or exceed grade-level expectations in early math skills and number fluency.
Baylor University’s Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA), sponsored by the Baylor School of Education (SOE), will be held at the Mayborn Museum on the Baylor campus July 5-28 for students ages 4 to 6.
The summer program, designed for students who have just finished PreK or Kindergarten and directed by Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education, aims to establish a solid foundation in “number sense,” especially for students who could benefit most from this summer experience in mathematics.
Dr. Suzanne Nesmith
STEM+ Camp Launch
Transformation Waco Students
Dr. Karon LeCompte, associate professor of curriculum and instruction in the Baylor School of Education, received the 2023 Baylor Centennial Professors Award, along with another award from the Baylor Libraries — the Baylor Fundamentals of Data Research Fellowship, also for research this summer. LeCompte will use both awards to further her research in social studies education, particularly civics education through Baylor’s iEngage program.
Read all about the inaugural session of STEM+ Launch Camp, hosted by the School of Education at the Mayborn Museum for students of Transformation Waco schools. The feature story in the Waco Tribune-Herald features video and photography also.
Photos and Video by Rod Aydelotte
Baylor SOE STEM+ Camp Launch
Dr. Sandi Cooper
Dr. Suzanne Nesmith
Lead Teacher Di Copeman
Julia Morrison, BSEd ’23
Anne Blackaby, BSEd ’23
The newest issue of Baylor Impact newsletter (Spring 2023) is now online. If you are an SOE graduate and did not receive a newsletter in the mail, please let us know by emailing BaylorImpact@baylor.edu. This Impact issue features exciting news about SOE programs, faculty, students, and alumni who are making a difference.
Blasting off this summer is Baylor University’s STEM+ Camp Launch, designed for incoming fifth grade students from three Transformation Waco schools. Sponsored by the Baylor School of Education, with collaboration from the School of Engineering and Computer Science and funding from Waco’s Cooper Foundation, the program consists of three one-week sessions, taking place June 5-23 at the Mayborn Museum.
Baylor School of Education (SOE) recognized seven seniors as outstanding students at the 38th Annual Senior Recognition Banquet in late April. 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 2023 are:
Emily Kessler — EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award
Sara Easley — Delores Coker Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Student in Education
Julia Morrison — Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education
Savannah Webster — Outstanding Student in Middle Grades Education
Faith Stuchly — M.L. Goetting Award for Outstanding Student in Secondary Education
Betsua Morales — Outstanding Student in EC-12 Education Programs
Megan Forshee — Outstanding Student with a Minor in Education
Two teachers were honored at the annual Baylor University School of Education Senior Recognition Banquet in late April. Following tradition, Baylor School of Education seniors had the opportunity to nominate teachers who had been influential in their lives. Students submitted a nomination essay about their teacher, and the awarded educators were chosen by a Baylor faculty committee. During the awards banquet, the students honor their memorable educator by reading their essay.
For 2023, Katie Bohannon Phillips of Plano and Jenna Helduser Walling of Austin were honored with the Baylor School of Education’s “Most Memorable Teacher” award.
Maryann Hebda, a second-year PhD candidate doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Nori Ryland, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology, were both recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for their teaching during the Spring 2022 semester.
This award is given by the Baylor Graduate School fo graduate students who work as Teachers of Record and who are recognized for their outstanding teaching by students, and faculty. Recipients are honored at a luncheon, given a plaque, and awarded an additional travel award to use to attend conferences that will further their teaching careers.
As Autism Acceptance Month celebrates and encourages the acceptance of people on the autism spectrum and recognizes that they are valued members of society, a new Baylor initiative in launching to build inclusive practices within communities of faith. Dr. Erik W. Carter, the Luther Sweet Endowed Chair in Disabilities in the Baylor School of Education and executive director of the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD), is helping launch a new initiative to support churches in creating more welcoming and accessible experiences for people with autism.
Dr. Carter shares specific actions churches can take to expand inclusion and belonging.
Dr. Mar Magnusen, Dept. of Educational Leadership, Sport Management
Sport Management MSEd student Sam Esparza
Baylor VETS director Kevin Davis
HOT Behavioral Network Veterans One Stop's Meagan Noranbrock
The presentation was dramatic. Everyone waited anxiously in a jam-packed but hushed elementary school gymnasium in Beaumont, Texas, as the governor spoke: “A teacher who has shown excellence, who has helped you learn more, and done a great job, and this teacher’s name is Jenna Dean.” The crowd erupted with applause, and the surprised teacher walked to the front of the assembly.
Baylor professor Bill Sterrett stood behind a large check made out to Ms. Dean for $25,000. While he serves as the educational leadership department chair in Baylor’s School of Education, Sterrett is also part of a unique group of K12 educators, as a previous recipient of the Milken Educator Award, known as the “Oscars of Teaching.”
Baylor School of Education’s master’s program in Sport Management has launched a project to help homeless veterans in Texas and set a Guinness World Record at the same time. And they need help from the Baylor family and beyond.
Operation Warmth for Warriors has set a goal of providing 1,000 sleeping bags for homeless Texas veterans. Organizers have a bulk source for quality bags for $20 each. To reach their goal, they need to raise $20,000, and contributions can be made at this Baylor page:
Baylor Operation Warmth for Warriors
Dr. Mar Magnusen, associate professor of sport management in the Department of Educational Leadership, said the sleeping bag project will not only help veterans unable to find housing, but the distribution through veterans’ service providers will create a connection point for future services to veterans.
The Baylor Libraries will host a conversation, co-sponsored by the School of Education and featuring SOE alumna Mary Woodard, with Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director and Librarian Gloria Meraz and Texas Library Association President Mary Woodard, a School of Education graduate, on their journeys in education and librarianship, the current state of libraries in Texas, and the future of Texas libraries.
Gloria Meraz, director and librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Mary Marlow Woodard, president of the Texas Library Association (TLA), will be interviewed by Lori Fogleman, Assistant Vice President for Media and Public Relations at Baylor University on Friday, March 31, at 2:30 p.m. CDT at the Armstrong Browning Library & Museum. Conversation and a reception will follow.
Woodard graduated from Baylor in 1985 with degrees in Elementary Education and English and earned her library science degree from Texas Woman’s University in 1987. She served in the Mesquite Independent School District for 35 years as a school librarian, technology facilitator, and director of library services. In 2022, Woodard was elected president of TLA, the largest state library association in the United States.
Amy Smith, a Baylor School of Education 1999 graduate and biology teacher at Midway High School, was honored for her work mentoring Baylor students. She was named as the 2023 Outstanding Mentor Teacher by the South Central Area Network for Professional Development Schools. This regional honor recognizes exceptional educators who share a dedication to the field of teaching and the partnership between institutions of higher education and pre-K-12 schools.
Smith has hosted 13 Baylor students as full-year interns (senior student teachers), one-semester interns, and teaching associates (Baylor juniors) over the course of her 16 years as a mentor teacher at MHS.
School of Education doctoral student Traniece Brown-Warrens and adjunct professor Dr. Bobby Ott went viral in March!
Baylor University today announced a $1.5 million gift from anonymous alumni establishing an endowed faculty chair position to support innovative research and teaching focused on the flourishing of children and youth with disabilities. With an appointment in the Baylor School of Education and leading the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities, the faculty chair will accelerate interdisciplinary scholarship across the University and beyond.
The School of Education has named Erik W. Carter, Ph.D., as the inaugural chairholder. Carter previously held The Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Special Education at Vanderbilt University and co-directed the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. In this role, he will serve as executive director for the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) and help launch a new interdisciplinary institute on faith and disability.
Dr. Rishi Sriram, associate professor in Baylor School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and director of the MSEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs, was selected as a Senior Scholar of ACPA (American College Personnel Association), a leading association in the field of higher education student affairs that advocates for the integration of research and scholarship in the practice of student affairs.
ACPA describes its Senior Scholars as “senior members of the profession who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to ACPA’s mission of transforming higher education by creating and sharing influential scholarship, shaping critically reflective practice, and advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments.” A maximum of 12 scholars may hold the position.
Often when people hear the word literacy, they think about learning to read, but literacy involves much more than reading from the printed page. Literacy encompasses the everyday ways people use language to make meaning and communicate, said Kelly C. Johnston, B.S. '04, Ed.D., assistant professor in the Baylor University School of Education, whose research focuses on how children and youth engage with literacy across diverse contexts and the implications for literacy development and well-being. "It includes reading, writing, speaking and listening. Those are the fundamental things that we do with language to make meaning and communicate," Johnston said.
Dr. Bill Sterrett, Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership
Dr. Bill Sterrett, Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership
Jennifer Gonzales, EdD ’22, received the Dissertation Award from the national School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) in recognition of her dissertation research — a five-phase mixed-methods study titled “Leveraging the Role of an Instructional Coach to Close Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Knowing-Doing Gap: A Mixed Methods Experimental Study.”
The newest issue of Baylor Impact newsletter (Winter 2023) is now online. This Impact issue features exciting news about SOE programs, faculty, students, and alumni who are making a difference.
Dallas Morning News
Dr. Eric Robinson, Associate Professor of School Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology
Excerpt of Op-Ed by Dr. Robinson:
"School psychologists are recognized nationally as mental health experts for school-age children. Their education, according to the National Association of School Psychologists, focuses on 10 domains of practice, two of which are mental and behavioral health services, and services to promote safe and supportive schools.
Unfortunately, most, but not all, Texas school districts severely limit the role of the school psychologist, employing them almost exclusively as testers for special education. School psychologists are well-trained to evaluate students for special education placement, but this is just one of their many roles."
Jessica Akers, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational psychology in Baylor University’s School of Education, has received a $893,409 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop an innovative treatment model for children with autism and their siblings.
Akers has created an intervention program that intentionally focuses on improving the interactions between siblings. Sibling SUCCESS: Supporting Unique Collaborative Care to Encourage Shared Success invites the siblings of children with autism or “special siblings” to collaborate and participate as a vital member of the intervention team. Although behavioral interventions are highly effective for children with autism, these behavior programs – while including parents – do not address the importance the sibling relationship.
Cypress Fairbanks ISD
Kia Willis, BSEd ’01
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.
Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor in the Baylor School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, was selected as the 2022 recipient of the E. Glenadine Gibb Achievement Award. The award honors a member of the Texas Council for Teachers of Mathematics for contributions to the improvement of mathematics education at the state and national level. Cooper received the award at the Conference for the Advancement of Math Teaching (CAMT) in San Antonio in the summer.
She was nominated by two Baylor colleagues — Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor of mathematics education, and Dr. Ryann Shelton, PhD ’20, lecturer in Baylor’s online EdD in Learning & Organizational Change. The nomination lauded Cooper’s impact in the field, noting, “She is an outstanding colleague and offers significant leadership for the entire mathematics education community. She is an exemplary scholar, teacher, and leader.”
Adrianna Prado, a third-year doctoral student in Baylor School of Education’s online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change, has combined her love of education and of animals to provide meaningful service to communities as part of a therapy dog team. She said her certified therapy sheepadoodle, Stella, has been the “paws of Christ” in settings ranging from library reading events to tragedy recovery.
A special education specialist in San Antonio’s Northside ISD, Prado took Stella to Uvalde in the aftermath of the school shooting at Robb Elementary in late May, serving with Therapy Animals of San Antonio to offer comfort and support.
The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Learning and Organizational Change online program housed within Baylor University’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education has been named a Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Program of the Year 2022 winner. The CPED Program of the Year award is given annually to one or more institutions whose program demonstrates that it is distinctive, innovative and useful to other CPED members. This honor will be awarded in October at the annual CPED Convening in Pittsburgh.
The Baylor School of Education’s PhD program in School Psychology has earned accreditation on contingency from the American Psychological Association (APA), with the contingency based on the program’s relative newness. Baylor anticipates its first program finishers in 2023 and will be eligible for full accreditation in 2025.
The professional preparation provided by the Baylor School Psychology Ph.D., through the Department of Educational Psychology, is founded on the ethical codes and professional standards of the APA and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), as well as the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists rules of practice.
Every future teacher dreams of the day they will have their own classroom, but what’s it really like during that first year of teaching? Did @BaylorUniversity SOE prepare our graduates well?
Six grads tell all in new posts on our Instant Impact news blog:
Morgan Hicks, BSEd ’21, Elementary Education
Kirby Jarzombek Gentry, BSEd ’20, MSEd ’21
Rylee Jorges, BSEd ’21, Secondary English
Danielle Sanders, BSEd ’21, All-Level Special Education
Cole Sussman, BSEd ’21, Elementary Education
Angela Tallent, BSEd ’21, Secondary Mathematics
Baylor’s nationally recognized iEngage Summer Civics Institute is returning to the Baylor University campus for the first time since 2019, hosting nearly 100 rising middle school students Aug. 1-5.
The free civics camp recently was named the 2022 recipient of the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education — an annual award, presented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), that recognized iEngage for its work to promote, inspire, improve and lead innovation in the field of civics education related to the justice system. iEngage director Dr. Karon LeCompte accepted the award in Chicago in late July.
The idea of “investment” is generally to turn something into more, according to Baylor University’s chief investment officer, David Morehead, who is certainly an expert on investing after decades of senior-level experience at large financial institutions. Morehead and his wife, Sara, also consider “investment potential” when they choose targets for their charitable giving. That strategy — along with an appreciation for the value of education and educators — led the Moreheads to make an investment in Baylor School of Education’s MA in School Leadership program through scholarship donations.
After a 2020 hiatus due to COVID and a 2021 program embedded in a local summer school, Baylor University’s Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA), sponsored by the Baylor School of Education (SOE), has returned to the Baylor campus July 5-28 to host students ages 4 to 6 at the Mayborn Museum.
The summer program, designed for students who have just finished PreK or kindergarten and directed by Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education, aims to establish a solid foundation in “number sense,” especially for students who have been identified as having difficulty in mathematics.
Dr. Jon Eckert, professor of Educational Leadership and the Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair for Christians in School Leadership, received the Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching for Tenured Faculty. Eckert completed his doctorate at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and then worked in both the Bush and Obama administrations on teaching quality issues. Before coming to Baylor in 2019, Eckert taught and coached intermediate and middle school students outside of Chicago and Nashville for 12 years and spent 10 years on the faculty of Wheaton College teaching education majors.
Eckert teaches Baylor students at all levels — undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral. He teaches undergraduates in Baylor’s Leadership Minor, master’s students in the MA in School Leadership program, and doctoral students pursuing degrees in K12 Educational Leadership — all programs in the Department of Educational Leadership.
Dr. Tonya Davis, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, received the Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarship for Tenured Faculty. Davis specializes in special education and Applied Behavior Analysis and is coordinator of the Special Education Program and the PhD in Educational Psychology. She also serves as graduate program director for the Department of Educational Psychology.
Davis received her PhD in special education with a specialization in autism and developmental disabilities from the University of Texas at Austin and her BS in special education and MSEd in educational psychology from Baylor University. Dr. Davis is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral Level (BCBA-D). Prior to joining the Baylor faculty in 2008, she was a special education teacher and in-home applied behavior analysis therapist.