Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T.)

2020 Educator of the Year Award Recipients

Tammy Barrack

Tammy Barrack

Tammy Barrack is a third-grade teacher and graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Barrack works in Llano ISD, where she refers to herself as a “momma bear” for her students. Barrack attends the First Baptist Church in Llano, where she serves as Kids4Christ director and assists her husband, the youth minister of the church.

Hayley Briggs

Haley Briggs

Haley Briggs is a fourth-grade teacher and graduate of Dallas Baptist University. Briggs serves in Granbury ISD, where she was awarded Teacher of the Year 2019-2020. Briggs attends Lakeside Baptist Church and leads a fourth-grade girls Bible class on Wednesday nights. She is also very active in missions.

Shana Culp

Shana Culp

Shana Culp is a fourth-grade English Language and Reading Arts and Social Studies teacher and graduate of Hardin-Simmons University. Culp teaches in Garland ISD and has been called by her peers a true servant leader with a large heart. She is an active member of New Hope Baptist Church in Royse City, where she is helping organize a mentorship program and is active on the praise and worship team.

Margarita Garcia

Margarita Garcia

Margarita Garcia is a bilingual and ESL District Coordinator and graduate of Baptist University of the Américas. She serves in Kaufman ISD, where she is District Facilitator for the Latino Family Literacy Project and the Raising Highly Capable Kids program. Margarita is also active in her church, Community Life Church in Kaufman, and with Texas Baptists, where she has served on the Congreso planning team.

Andrea Harp

Andrea Harp

Andrea Harp is a high school English teacher and graduate of Howard Payne University. Harp serves in Stanton ISD and has been an educator for over 40 years. She is an active member of the First Baptist Church in Stanton and is involved in WMU of Texas for which she has spoken at several workshops during their leadership conferences.

Mike Manchee

Mike Manchee

Mike Manchee is a middle school principal and graduate of Wayland Baptist University. Manchee works in Amarillo ISD, where his schools have received some of the highest state designations of excellence. He is also an active member of the First Baptist Church in Amarillo, where he is a deacon and is on the ordination committee.

Carla Stutts

Carla Stutts

Carla Stutts is a sixth-grade science teacher and graduate of Houston Baptist University. Stutts has served in Houston ISD for almost 20 years and is the department chair and new hire mentor. She attends Willow Meadows Baptist Church, where she has served in children’s and youth ministry for almost ten years.

Jessica Sullens

Jessica Sullens

Jessica Sullens is a sixth-grade teacher and graduate of East Texas Baptist University. Sullens serves in Hallsville ISD and has a passion for worldwide education. She is a member of the First Baptist Church in Hallsville, where she has served as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School leader and Children’s Ministry Committee Chair. Currently, her husband is serving as the interim pastor of Bethel Baptist Church

Deborah Wagner

Deborah Wagner

Deborah Wagner is a Speech-Language Pathologist and graduate of Baylor University. Wagner works in Lytle ISD, where she recently received a grant to put in a playground communications board that will allow students with limited language skills to express themselves. She is an active member of the First Baptist Church in Devine, where she is the Children’s Sunday School Director and Co-director of the Children’s Choir.

Why are we presenting these awards?

Since 1886, Texas Baptists have been strong supporters of university education in Texas. The B.E.S.T. Awards (Baptist Educators Serving Texans) will be given annually in order to:

  1. Recognize the value and the positive contribution our Texas Baptists universities are making to our public school systems in Texas.
  2. Identify and celebrate individual Texas public school educators who, every day in their classrooms, live out their faith to the students they serve.
  3. Encourage Texas Baptists (BGCT) churches to remember that their mission gifts through the Cooperative Program support our Texas Baptists universities and the training of approximately 800 new public school educators annually who invest in the lives of children for years to come.

Who can be nominated?

A candidate for a B.E.S.T. award is an educator (teacher, coach, counselor, administrator, etc.) in a state approved or accredited school, prekindergarten through grade twelve. Each candidate currently must be:

  • A teacher or administrator in a Texas public school system;
  • A graduate of one of our nine Texas Baptist Universities; and
  • A member of a Baptist church supportive of the BGCT (Texas Baptists).

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Made possible by gifts through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program.

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