Baylor Education Students Receive State Recognitions

Two May 2016 Baylor School of Education (SOE) graduates picked up honors during a statewide meeting of the Texas Directors of Field Experience (TDFE) and the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (CSOTTE).

Stephanie Wright, BSEd ’16, received Student Teacher of the Year recognition from TDFE at the October meeting. 

The award honors senior-level teacher-education students. TDFE is the organization of faculty members within university teacher-education
programs that supervises field experiences and is a part of CSOTTE. There were three honorees from university-based programs.

Dr. Krys Goree, director of the SOE’s Office of Professional Practice and director of field experiences for Baylor students, said the award, which honors outstanding instruction and interaction with children, was extremely competitive. Each nominee submitted a video of a full class session in which they were the lead teacher, and judges watched each video.

“Stephanie’s dedication and commitment to her students is obvious and impressive,” Goree said.

 Wright, who graduated summa cum laude with a focus on special education/all level, completed her student-teaching experience at Midway ISD’s Hewitt Elementary in grades K-4. She is pursuing a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis, also in Baylor SOE.

Her approach to her students and teaching is simple—be caring and compassionate.

“Many of my students have so many obstacles to overcome, but I believe in them,” Wright said. “They bring out the best in me, and I know that education is the most important factor in their lives.”

She said the best part of student teaching was the daily involvement with her students.

“I love the instructional times, but mostly I love all the crazy little things that happen in between,” Wright said. “My students constantly reminded me that childhood is fleeting and very precious. I felt blessed to be part of theirs for that short time we were together.”

Dr. Tonya Davis, associate professor in educational psychology and director of the educational psychology department’s special education program, called Wright one of the most intelligent students she has ever taught.

“Stephanie is not only incredibly smart, she is also an all-around teacher and student,” Davis said. “She masters teaching techniques fluidly, and her students adore her.”

Wright said she appreciated the emphasis on field experience at Baylor, especially the opportunity to begin teaching students in the first semester on campus. 

“I don’t think anything can fully prepare you for student teaching, but I felt like I had all of the foundational skills going in,” Wright said.

Baylor education majors, during their senior year, teach in local classrooms for more than 100 days during the school year. The state requirement for teacher certification is 60 days.

“I had an incredible experience in the School of Education,” Wright said. “The professors were amazingly supportive and always willing to talk and problem-solve about issues we were having in the classroom. They were dedicated to us becoming good teachers and also to the students we were teaching.”

Kaitlin Welsh, BSEd ’16, also was honored at the meeting for Exceptional Academic and Instructional Abilities by CSOTTE and the Quest for Quality program.

Dr. Sheila Gloer, senior lecturer of curriculum and instruction, said Welsh was loved and respected by her students and the staff at her intern school, Waco ISD’s Mountainview Elementary. 

Gloer said Welsh’s teaching style motivates and challenges her students and that she has the ability to assess and break down the specific tasks for each of her students to maximize their potential. 

“Her classroom presence created an environment where her students have great care and concern for each other’s success,” Gloer said.

Welsh, who graduated summa cum laude with a focus on elementary education, is pursuing a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, also in Baylor SOE.