On October 13, 2021, Texas Baptists announced the winners of the 2021 Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T.) Award. The award celebrates Christian educators who are living out their faith daily among their students and the Texas Baptists institutions that taught them. Nine award recipients were selected, one from each Texas Baptist educational university.
The recipients are Hector Marquez, a graduate of the Baptist University of the Americas and a 9th grade Science teacher and coach in Lamesa ISD; Ashley Minton, a graduate of Baylor University and principal of Canyon Ranch Elementary; Cynthia Spencer, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and a 5th grade Math teacher in Mansfield ISD; Jennifer Carlile, a graduate of East Texas Baptist University and a 2nd grade teacher at Bullard ISD; Daisy Sanchez, a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University and a counselor in Bronte ISD; Jonathan Powell, a graduate of Houston Baptist University and principal of Keefer Crossing Middle School; Bobbette Bell, a graduate of Howard Payne University and a high school librarian in Salado ISD; Dolores Kemp, a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a retired teacher and administrator at Belton ISD; and Rodney Wallace, a graduate of Wayland Baptist University and principal at Ash Program in Plainview.
The award process was coordinated by Cooperative Program Director Bruce McCoy and the Office of Cooperative Program Ministry. This annual award is presented to select Texas Baptists institution graduates who currently serve in faculty or administration roles in the Texas Public School System and are members of a church supportive of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). One graduate is selected from each institution.
It is estimated that graduates from these universities represent 6-8% of the over 357,000 public school educators in Texas.
“These B.E.S.T. Award recipients serve as our representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Texas public school system as the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’ (Matthew 5:13-14),” McCoy said. “These recipients are shining examples for Christ as they represent thousands of other Texas Baptists educators just like them who serve the Lord with wisdom and skill. We gladly celebrate each of our 2021 B.E.S.T. Award recipients.”