By Katie Coats
In 2016, John Bullion
sat in the lobby of Marrs Mclean Science Building, home of Baylor School of Education (SOE), for the first time. As he waited for a meeting with Dr. John E. Wilson, the founding program director for the Doctor of Education (EdD) in K-12 Educational Leadership, Bullion admired a bulletin board of articles about accomplished alumni and faculty. After graduating in 2020 as one of the first graduates of the K12 EdD program, Dr. Bullion has now joined the ranks of notable alumni worthy of bulletin board recognition.
In October Bullion was named superintendent of Morgan ISD, after serving several years as Special Education Liaison to TEA (Texas Education Agency) for Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12, a position he took on during his doctoral studies at Baylor. Previously Bullion worked in special education in the classroom and at district levels, having earned bachelor and master of education degrees at Tarleton State University.
Bullion has also earned prestigious accolades for a podcast about special education that he and ESC Region 13 colleague Pam Humphrey launched and co-host. SPEDTalk received the Barbara Jordan Media Award in 2022 for the second year in a row. The statewide award recognizes the respectful, accurate portrayal of people with disabilities by media professionals and students and is voted on by The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
Bullion credits the Baylor EdD program with helping him reach new career goals. The SOE launched the cohort-based EdD in the Department of Educational Leadership to focus specifically on K-12 educational leaders in executive roles.
“Graduating from Baylor’s Doctoral Program in K-12 Educational Leadership absolutely prepared me for my new role as the Superintendent of Schools at Morgan ISD,” he said.
SPEDTalk received the 2021 Barbara Jordan Media Award for an episode titled, “Don’t be afraid to be Included!” In June 2022, SPEDTalk received the award again! The repeat honor is for an episode titled “Loving Students Doesn’t Lower Expectations.” The Committee has only given awards in the podcast category for four years, so SPEDTalk has won half of them. And it’s already been nominated for the 2023 award.
Bullion said the podcast grew out of a desire to break down information silos from the local to state level. “We were very specific about what we were marketing with this podcast,” Bullion said, “There are a lot of people out there telling the story of what’s not going right — and we wanted to tell the positive story.”
“I spent time weighing my options between other doctoral programs and did a lot of research at several other universities that were attainable for me,” Bullion said. “I just couldn't shake the idea of getting my doctorate at Baylor.”
Bullion liked that the program was designed to allow practitioners to collaborate and get to know each other through face-to-face classes. “It really brings practitioners back to the collegiate environment,” he said, “and you have the opportunity to experience a really rich Christian-based educational experience.”
WEB EXTRA: Video of Dr. Bullion on SPEDTalk