Carla Stutts has taught at Meyerland Middle School in the Houston Independent School District for 20 years. She is one of nine public school educators who received the 2020 BEST—Baptist Educators Serving Texans—award. Stutts attends Willow Meadows Baptist Church in southwest Houston and is a graduate of Houston Baptist University. From deep in the heart of one Texan, she shares her background and thoughts on being a Christian in public education.
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Where else have you served, and what were your positions there?
I served 12 years in the administration office of the Memorial Hermann Hospital System.
Where did you grow up?
How did you come to faith in Christ?
I was enrolled in Sunday school before I was born. I do not remember a day I did not know about Christ. However, when I was 9 years old, I walked the aisle and was baptized. I learned about Christ through my parents as I watched them live out their faith.
Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in education with a minor in history from Houston Baptist University.
Why do you feel called into education?
I love working with the kids. It’s a new performance every class. I know my stuff, but it is the delivery that counts.
How does being a Christian influence your work in education?
It allows me to pray for students and let them know they are on my special list. I am also able to let them know how much they mean to me.
What is your favorite aspect of education? Why?
Seeing students explore learning. I am so tired of seeing people wait for others to tell them where to find or how to do something. When you can encourage someone to think and explore what is around them, they will develop an open mind to see the big picture. Hopefully, they will see Christ in me.
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What one aspect of education gives you the greatest joy?
When students and/or parents see me and actually are happy to say, “Hello.” They send me notes and emails on the days I need them most.
What is your favorite class to teach? Why?
I only teach science. However, this year I have been given a Thinking Skills class on breathing and thinking through trauma. This has been good for me, too. I make them leave class with a positive word or phrase that will help someone else have a better day.
What one aspect of education would you like to change?
Paperwork and people who never have taught making the decisions.
What is the impact of education on your family?
They have had to share my time way too much while I grade, organize lesson plans and try to figure out this technology stuff. I did not have a free weekend during the first three weeks of school this year. At the same time, my adult children help me with the technology. My family members are my cheerleaders.
If you could get one “do over” in education, what would it be, and why?
Get to know my teachers as people. They were in the profession for a reason. They worked so hard for me with little pay. I bet they had a lot to share with me.
Would you still become a teacher if you had known how teaching would change
I would still become a teacher. I would like to assume I would make better choices on how to prepare my time, but I probably would continue my original path.
Why are you Baptist?
It is all I know. I would rather be known as a follower of Christ than just a Baptist.
Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?
Mary Mils, Phyllis Gail Johnson and The Momfia. The first two ladies are my mom’s age, but they showed me what it means to age in Christ, influence the younger ladies of the world and love them.
The Momfia is a group of six other women who we have met each month to pray for our children, family and ourselves. We have met for more than 25 years and support each other daily.
What did you learn on the job you wish you learned elsewhere?
How to think on my feet and alter tasks to make it better for others.
Other than the Bible, name some of your favorite books or authors, and explain why.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz reminds me of the four pillars to live by.
Jesus is Calling by Sarah Young. My prayer warriors read it each day.
What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Who is your favorite person in the Bible, other than Jesus? Why?
King David. He had a heart for Christ, made mistakes, asked for forgiveness and received grace from God.
Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.
I love Christ and endure the day with 89.3 KSBJ, a Christian radio station in Houston.