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Jon Eckert, EdD, is Professor of Educational Leadership and the Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership. Dr. Eckert came to Baylor in 2019 with more than two decades of experience in education. He taught and coached intermediate and middle school students outside of Chicago and Nashville for 12 years. After completing his doctorate at Vanderbilt University in 2008, he was selected as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, where he worked in both the Bush and Obama administrations on teaching quality issues. For the past 10 years, he has prepared teachers at Wheaton College.
His research interests include collective leadership, teaching effectiveness, evaluation and strategic compensation to enhance that effectiveness, and science education. Over the past decade, he has written and worked on grants of more than $300 million with schools and districts across the U.S. Dr. Eckert has conducted research for the U.S. Department of Education, the Carnegie Foundation, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, and the Center for Teaching Quality.
He is the author of The Novice Advantage: Fearless Practice for Every Teacher (Corwin, 2016) and Leading Together: Teachers and Principals Improving Student Outcomes (Corwin, 2018), book chapters, numerous peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly, Professional Development in Education, and Education Policy Analysis Archives, and practitioner publications such as Education Week and Phi Delta Kappan. He has written and presented white papers on Capitol Hill and the National Press Club and has been invited to present all over the U.S. and as far away as Muscat, Oman, at a G8-Broader Middle East Summit for education ministers.
Matt Thomas, EdD, is the Executive Director of The Center for Christian Education. Dr. Thomas joined the Baylor School of Education in 2018. He has served in Christian schools, Christian higher education, seminaries, and pastoral ministry for more than 25 years. Most recently, Dr. Thomas served as the Executive Director of a national radio ministry broadcasting on more than 600 stations.
His experience and expertise include mentoring, the development of leaders within Christian organizations, and organizational culture and health. Motivated by the joy a person experiences when they invest in the life of another, Dr. Thomas aims to equip Christian leaders to lead from a posture of humility and Christ-like influence that catalyzes the leader to effectively help that institution fulfill its mission. Dr. Thomas is deeply committed to training leaders to purposefully engage the seismic shifts facing Christian institutions today and firmly believes that the effectiveness of an institution is most closely related to the quality, character, and training of its leaders.
Matt and his wife, Beth, have three daughters.