COE alumna named one of state's three Student Teachers of the Year

Sutton, Waldroup, and Dixon-Krauss
Pictured left to right: Tim Sutton, director of clinical practice for UNT's College of Education; Alyssa Waldroup; and Lisbeth Dixon Krauss, UNT associate dean for Educator Preparation Programs.

Alyssa Waldroup, a May 2015 graduate of UNT's College of Education, was recently named one of three Student Teachers of the Year by the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education.

Now a fourth-grade teacher in Lewisville ISD, Waldroup majored in Interdisciplinary Studies EC-6. Students in this major complete two semesters of clinical practice with the same mentor teachers through the college's Professional Development School (PDS) model, said Tim Sutton, director of clinical practice for UNT's College of Education.

Waldroup said her student teaching experience allowed her to not only apply what she had learned in the classroom, but also form connections with her students.

"I have spoken to colleagues on my teaching team and we all agree that UNT really prepared us for the real deal," she said. "UNT did a wonderful job preparing us for different scenarios we may experience in our future fields, and the PDS experience put those scenarios into practice. That time was so special because we had the chance to put our newly learned skills to use."

That's precisely what the college's field-based program is designed to do – and what sets UNT apart from other teacher-preparation programs, Sutton said.

UNT's College of Education is the only institution that utilizes the PDS model within the North Texas area, he said. "PDS students complete over 200 hours of field work prior to the student teaching semester. This time provides the students with opportunities to practice the instructional strategies they have learned in their methods courses. 

"Local school districts value the amount of time our students spend in their districts and seek to employ them when they have graduated."

Waldroup, whose parents both have degrees from UNT and whose mother is also a teacher, said she has known since childhood that she wanted to be in education. Winning this award from CSOTTE was just validation of her career decision, she said.

"I had begun my career and fallen head over heels in love with my chosen profession, so to hear that I had won an award from my student teaching experience just supported that this was the right path for me," she said.

CSOTTE, a nonprofit organization providing support for Texas educators, has given the student teaching awards since 1988. Waldroup received a plaque and a scholarship to further her education during a ceremony October 26 in Frisco.

For more information, visit the CSOTTE website.