Baylor Secondary Education Graduate Named National Student Teacher of the Year

August 29, 2019

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
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By Meg Cullar, Baylor University School of Education, 254-710-6435

WACO, Texas (Aug. 29, 2019) – Baylor University School of Education graduate Lauren Hornbeak, B.S.Ed. ’19, has been named the 2019 National Student Teacher of the Year by Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, and the Association of Teacher Educators. Hornbeak, who is certified in Secondary Education - Life Science, is the first honoree from Baylor.

The KDP/ATE National Student Teacher of the Year award recognizes one student teacher/intern annually who has demonstrated the ability to plan and develop classroom management skills and instructional strategies that support all students; establish interpersonal relationships with students, parents, faculty and staff; and reflect powerfully on their student teaching experience. Award winners are acknowledged with a scholarship award and a speaking engagement at the KDP convention.

This is the second recent teaching award for Hornbeak. She also was named Clinical Teacher of the Year for the State of Texas by the Texas Directors of Field Experience (TDFE), the organization of faculty members within university teacher-education programs who supervise field experiences of students. TDFE chose three student teachers as awardees for 2019, and each honoree receives a scholarship. For the state award, Hornbeak is the third Baylor honoree in the last four years.

“I am excited to implement all that I learned during student teaching at Baylor regarding both content information and growing my students as individual contributors to society,” she said. “I hope to push my students to think critically about the world around them while also teaching them that sometimes it is better to be kind than correct.”

Internship equals confidence

This fall, Hornbeak began her professional teaching career at Cypress Creek High School in Cypress Fairbanks ISD, as a biology teacher.

“It is because of my intern experience that I walk into the classroom confident in my abilities,” Hornbeak said. “I will draw on my knowledge of differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each and every soul that I have the privilege of teaching.”

As part of the application process for both of the awards, Hornbeak submitted lesson plans, essays and other materials, including a video of a class she taught on human body systems in a pre-AP biology class at Midway High School in Midway ISD, where she taught during her senior year at Baylor. Amy Smith, B.S.Ed. ’99, served there as her mentor teacher, and Gerald Brewer, B.S. ’71, M.S.Ed. ’78, was her intern supervisor for Baylor.

During their senior year, Baylor education majors teach in local classrooms for more than 100 days during the school year. The Texas state requirement for teacher certification is 70 days. In addition, Baylor students teach in schools for partial days during their junior year. During her junior year, Hornbeak taught one semester at Midway High School in the classroom of Jamie Flowers and one semester at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Waco ISD in the classroom of Marisela Siller.

Madelon McCall, Ed.D., clinical assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education, taught and supervised the science methods course and science clinical experiences during Hornbeak’s junior year. Hornbeak, she said, was “one of the most coachable young science teachers” she has ever taught.

“She is not only very knowledgeable in both science and science pedagogy but has a passion for biology and a love for students.” McCall said. “Lauren is intuitive and sensitive to the needs of students and has an innate ability to quickly respond to those needs. She was a joy to teach and mentor and is an outstanding novice science teacher.”

Deep roots at Baylor

Hornbeak is a sixth-generation Baylor Bear with an ancestor who graduated in 1873 at Independence. Both of her parents are Baylor graduates, and her grandfather, Billy Jack Hollis, B.B.A. ’60, is in the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame. She said Baylor will always be her home.

“I knew Baylor would push me to grow spiritually, academically and socially, but more than anything it would be a bond to share with my family for the rest of my life,” she said. “To be able to walk the same steps and hear the same bells as family members before me is something I would never trade.”

While at Baylor, Hornbeak invested in the community beyond her SOE teaching in local schools. She also volunteered in Mission Waco’s after-school program through the Bobo Spiritual Life Center, coached volleyball at Live Oak Classical School and in the Houston area and held leadership roles in the Baylor Tri Delta chapter. She also travels each summer to Tirnaveni, Romania, to serve in a school, Point of Hope, which provides many services for the Roma community there.

“My passion for people did not begin in Romania, but it certainly was strengthened there,” she said.

Hornbeak said she chose teaching because she believes the classroom is her mission field.

“I chose to be a teacher, because I want to be a safe place for students to land when the rest of their world seems to be falling apart,” she said. “I felt God calling me to the classroom.”

Hornbeak will be honored at the national KDP convention in October, where she will give a speech. That same month, she also will receive the Texas Clinical Teacher of the Year Award during the statewide meeting of the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education, of which TDFE is a part.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, superintendents, psychologists, health education professionals, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice. Visit to learn more.