Alexandra Ronnenberg, who graduated in May with a BSEd in elementary education, is “Clinical Teacher of the Year” for the state of Texas, honored for her work while a senior at Baylor.
She received the award from the Texas Directors of Field Experience (TDFE), the organization of faculty members within university teacher-education programs who supervise field experiences. The award honors senior-level teacher-education students and was presented at a statewide meeting this fall of the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (CSOTTE), of which TDFE is a part.
Ronnenberg did her student teaching in a first-grade classroom at Hillcrest Professional Development School in Waco ISD. Now she is teaching second grade at the same school with many of the same students in her class.
“I feel so grateful to have started my career at a school I know and love,” she said. She’s also grateful to mentor teacher Tamara Holey. “Upon entering my senior year at Baylor, I didn’t have confidence in myself as a teacher and was shy — which seems like a shocker now. Ms. Holey believed in me from day one and pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
Darlene Bolfing, Ronnenberg’s intern supervisor for Baylor, said, “She is truly a hands-on, student-centered teacher, and that is why her students have thrived. Her enthusiasm is contagious.” Also a Baylor SOE graduate, Bolfing was a teacher at Hillcrest for more than 20 years before joining the SOE and taught in the same classroom where Ronnenberg is now teaching. “It is so cool to have her occupy my old room, and I do always think of that as ‘my room’!”
Ronnenberg first applied to Baylor to pursue a business degree so she could join the family business in her home state of California. But one summer of working behind a desk convinced her to switch gears. She changed her major to education during Baylor orientation and has never looked back. She said she knew in her first year at Baylor that she wanted to stay in Texas, and soon her whole family will be moving to Texas also.
Ronnenberg said she loved “every second” in the School of Education. “I especially loved that I was able to go into the classroom my first semester and quickly confirm that this is what I want to do,” she said. “Then every year, I was building on my experiences.”
She said the internship year was her favorite class at Baylor. “Teaching is the best career in the whole world; you get to make a difference, and every day is new and exciting,” she said.
Ronnenberg is the fourth Baylor intern to receive this award in the last five years it’s been presented. (No award was given in 2020 due to COVID.)