• The National Student Teacher of the Year is a Baylor Bear for the 2nd time in 4 years

    Emily Blackwell

    After the lesson plans, essays and recommendations from student teachers across the country were put to the test, it was a Baylor alum who emerged from the best of the best.

    Emily Blackwell (BSEd ’22) earned the National Student Teacher of the Year Award for 2022 after a competitive process that included samples of her work, support from mentors and other materials that demonstrated her excellence as a young educator.

    The award — presented each year by Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, and the Association of Teacher Educators — recognizes one student teacher who rises to the top for his/her ability to lesson plan, manage classrooms, develop strategies to support all students, establish meaningful relationships, and reflect critically on the student teaching experience.

    [Even more impressive: This isn’t the first time a Baylor alum has earned the honor. In 2019, Laura Hornbeak (BSEd ’19) also earned the national award, giving Baylor something of a dynasty befitting the School of Ed’s reputation for preparing students for excellence in the classroom.]

    Not surprisingly, Blackwell credited teachers for helping her attain the honor: Baylor School of Ed associate clinical professor of elementary education Barbara Purdum-Cassidy (MSEd ’01, EdD ’05), her Baylor intern supervisor, and Valerie Taylor, who served as her mentor teacher at Hewitt Elementary near Waco.

    “(Dr. Purdum-Cassidy) usually teaches upper-level classes, so I was very lucky to have her,” Blackwell says. “And she was my intern supervisor my senior year. It was amazing to get to know her so well, and for her to know me. She knew when to push me, what I needed to focus on, and what parts I’d already mastered.”

    At Baylor, Blackwell was honored as a student with the Lorena B. Stretch Award for Outstanding Student in Elementary Education. She now teaches first grade at Brentfield Elementary in Richardson (TX) ISD.

    Sic ’em, Emily!