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September 9, 2020 | Andrew Hurst

Waxahachie, TX

Left to Right: Dr. Elmer Humphrey, Kathy Willemsen, Jasmine Stickel, Dr. Khristy Strange, and Dr. LaShera McElhany
Left to Right: Dr. Elmer Humphrey, Kathy Willemsen, Jasmine Stickel, Dr. Khristy Strange,
and Dr. LaShera McElhany

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) recently presented the Pre-Service Teacher Award to Jasmine Stickel, a 2019 SAGU graduate, and now a 6th grade Math Teacher at Red Oak Independent School District (RISD).

“I felt honored to receive this award because there are so many fantastic future teachers at SAGU,” said Stickel.

As a member of EDICUT (Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas), SAGU selects one senior student each year in the clinical teaching process. Clinical teaching typically occurs during the last semester of the education undergraduate degree program.

“It was a difficult choice because we had so many outstanding pre-service teachers,” said Dr. Khristy Strange, Interim Chair for the SAGU Education Department.

However, Dr. Strange shared that Jasmine’s performance in her clinical teaching program stood out to her and the Education faculty. “Jasmine demonstrated a dedication to the classroom, an ability to incorporate innovative strategies, classroom management skills, and an outstanding overall performance on her evaluations,” she said.

Paula Manley, Ed.D.

“Having students like Jasmine in class is so encouraging to me as a professor. She always came to class with the intent of mastering her craft so that she would be prepared to teach her own class. She encourages others around her to do their best and sets a standard for excellence in every situation.”

LaShera McElhany, Ph.D.
“Jasmine has a positive disposition and that has carried over into the classroom. Despite the differences in teaching this year due to Covid, she has kept a positive outlook and continues to push her students toward success.”

Stickel actually completed her clinical teaching requirement last fall, graduating in December of 2019. However, due to the university’s COVID-19 precautionary measures, she was unable to receive the award in person until the Fall 2020 semester. “When I finally had the chance to receive the award at SAGU, it brought back many great memories,” said Stickel.

Reflecting on her experience at SAGU, she believes that the university not only prepared her with the necessary academic training for teaching but also helped her build a stronger foundation in her faith.

“While I was at SAGU, my faith and walk with Christ grew exponentially,” she says. “I also grew as an individual by challenging myself and going outside of my comfort zone. By doing and experiencing those things, I was able to leave SAGU feeling grounded, which is exactly what you need to be as a teacher. As a teacher, you need to know who you are and know your values so that when life happens, and storms come, I can still be that consistency students so desperately need.” – Jasmine Stickel

In Stickel’s first year of full-time teaching, she, like thousands of teachers across the country, faced a unique set of challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Just three months after arriving at RISD, schools in Ellis County transitioned to remote learning to help flatten the curve. This caused Stickel to have to adapt to online teaching quickly.

“Through all of this, I have learned so much, and I truly believe it will help me become a better educator,” She said. “Knowing that I have been placed in that room, with those students, during this year was no accident; it is a divine appointment.”

While Stickel cannot speak of her faith outwardly, she can show Christ’s love to her students every day, even if it’s through a Zoom call. “My faith is a fuel that keeps me showing up to my classroom each and every day to give those students all that I have,” she says.

Even amid a global pandemic, she is confident that God has uniquely placed her exactly where she needs to be. As she looks to the future, she claims that she is excited to continue seeing what the Lord has in store for her as an educator. “At this time, I am just going to continue to walk in the Lord’s will and see where He takes me.”

Every year the Texas Education Agency (TEA) asks first-year teachers to fill out a survey. One of the questions asked is how prepared they felt for their first year of teaching. Over 90% of those first-year teachers who graduated from SAGU answered that they felt prepared as a direct result of SAGU’s educator prep program . On top of that, 6 principals in Waxahachie alone are SAGU graduates . SAGU is well known for preparing our students to teach in classrooms all across the nation and even overseas, and we can do the same for you! Click here if you’re interested in learning more about our Education program.

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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