Baylor School of Education Graduate Honored with Statewide Teaching Award
Alexandra Ronnenberg, B.S.Ed. ’21, is the fourth Baylor intern in recent years to be named the state’s Clinical Teacher of the Year
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SOE Contact: Meg Cullar, Baylor School of Education, 254-710-6435
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WACO, Texas (Dec. 1, 2021) – Alexandra Ronnenberg, who graduated from Baylor University in May with a B.S.Ed. in elementary education, has been named Clinical Teacher of the Year for the state of Texas, honored for her outstanding instruction and interaction with children while a senior at Baylor.
She is the fourth Baylor intern to receive the award in the last five years it has been presented. No award was given in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Ronnenberg received the award that honors senior-level teacher-education students from the Texas Directors of Field Experience (TDFE), the organization of faculty members within university teacher-education programs who supervise field experiences. The award was presented during this fall’s statewide meeting of the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education.
Ronnenberg completed her student teaching in a first-grade classroom at Hillcrest Professional Development School in the Waco Independent School District. After graduating from Baylor, she stayed at Hillcrest and now teaches second grade 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,” Ronnenberg said.
She also expressed appreciation to her mentor teacher at Hillcrest, 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,” Ronnenberg said.
Darlene Bolfing, Ronnenberg’s intern supervisor for the Baylor School of Education (SOE), calls her a “truly a hands-on, student-centered teacher. That is why her students have thrived. Her enthusiasm is contagious.”
Also a Baylor graduate, Bolfing was a teacher at Hillcrest for more than 20 years before joining the SOE. She also 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,’” Bolfing said.
Krys Goree, Ph.D., director of the Office of Professional Practice for the Baylor SOE and director of field experiences for Baylor students, said the Clinical Teacher of the Year award was highly competitive. Each nominee submitted a video of a full class session in which they were lead teacher, along with a video introduction and reflection. Nominees also submitted their lesson plan, three essays and a recommendation letter. Goree said that Ronnenberg stands out for her eagerness to learn and grow as a teacher.
“She was open to and implemented changes in her instruction in direct response to the recommendations by her amazing mentor teacher and intern supervisor,” Goree said. “She was so quiet at the beginning of last year. But she found her ‘teacher voice’ soon after she met her mentor teacher, Tamara Holey, and has soared. I predict, with confidence, that Alex will have a huge and positive impact on the achievement of students with whom she interacts and on the teaching profession. She has what it takes.”
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 during her first year at Baylor that she wanted to stay in Texas, and soon her whole family also will be moving to Texas.
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.
Recent Baylor School of Education Recipients of the Texas Clinical Teacher of the Year Award are:
- Stephanie Wright, B.S.Ed. ’16, MSEd ’17 (Special Education major)
- Rachel Vaughn, B.S.Ed. ’17 (Elementary Education major)
- Lauren Hornbeak, B.S.Ed. ’19 (Secondary Education – Life Science major), also named National Student Teacher of the Year by Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, and the Association of Teacher Educators.
- Alexandra Ronnenberg, B.S.Ed. ’21 (Elementary Education major)
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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.
ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, leaders in K12 and higher education, psychologists, professors, researchers, and more. With more than 60 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 www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.