Southwestern University, the Center for Career and Professional Development, and SU’s Department of Education are proud to announce that Elaine Goulden ’22 and Antonia Renfroe ’22 are recipients of scholarships from the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA). The annual awards recognize preservice teachers. Goulden and Renfroe are the 22nd and 23rd students in SU’s teacher certification program to receive the award. They will be presented their scholarships at an awards luncheon at TASPA’s annual conference, which is currently scheduled for December 9, 2021, at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Round Rock.

Goulden, who has been honored with the TASPA’s 2021–2022 Pete Chernick Award, is earning a bachelor of science in education with a certification for teaching social studies in grades 7–12. Having always had a passion for the subject, she hopes to teach history in a public high school. “History is a key field in which we can learn about how diverse persons and communities intersect, whether these intersections are positive or negative,” she wrote in her application essay. “I believe that being honest with students and encouraging them to be honest with one another does not create hostility; it opens doors for a more meaningful education.”

The SU senior credits her own teachers as role models for her career development. “When I was in high school, I had a lot of teachers who inspired me with their passion for their subjects and for teaching as a whole. Seeing the difference they made in my life and learning and in others’ was a big reason for my choosing to go into education,” Goulden shares. She finds teaching most fulfilling when she sees how motivated and eager to learn her students can be. “Seeing the effort and creativity students put into their own education is always rewarding,” she adds. “Even for the few lessons I’ve taught through field placements, having students that are enthusiastic about their own work and excited to learn new things has been a joy.”

Antonia Renfroe ’22.Antonia Renfroe ’22.The 2021–2022 Ann Berg Award recognizes Renfroe, who is also pursuing a bachelor of science in education and is working toward certification for teaching early childhood through sixth grade and all levels of special education. “I decided to go into K–12 teaching my junior year of high school. I attended an early-college high school that focused on students being a part of our community through community service,” she explains. As part of her experience, Renfroe began volunteering at a local clinic for autistic children. There, she fell in love with teaching. “I knew I wanted to work with students with disabilities and educate the amazing minds of children,” she says enthusiastically. “I began to volunteer more and more in the field of education, and here we are!” After graduation, she hopes to teach upper elementary, working in inclusion classrooms and/or coteaching.

Renfroe echoes Goulden’s reflections on the importance of her own teachers throughout her academic career. “In each memorable and integral stage of my life, I had a teacher there for me,” she described in her essay. Renfroe aims to pay that enduring support forward. “What I love most about teaching is being a part of the future each day,” she reflects. “Every student’s life we change alters the future, and being a part of something so important is so gratifying.”

Since 1989, TASPA, a professional association comprising human-resources and support staff from across Texas public schools, has awarded scholarships to assist college students seeking their initial teaching certification and/or endorsement. The organization works in conjunction with the Texas Association for Employment in Education (TAEE) to administer the funding program.