Three new faculty members have begun teaching at CBC as of this August: Traci Caldwell in the English department, and Carolyn Weaver and LaNell Crook in the education department.
When Weaver was applying, she said that CBC is where God wants her family to be. Crook reflects the same ideals.
“I’m just incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be here and to be able to share my knowledge and experiences in a Christian environment where we can work to fulfill our mission together,” said Crook.
Gratitude and impartation are shared attributes between Crook and Caldwell.
“I grew up on a 220-acre farm north of Morrilton in a little town called St. Vincent,” said Caldwell.
She said that she attended First Baptist Church in Morrilton growing up. Caldwell had attended University of Central Arkansas before leaving the country to study at a university in Puebla, Mexico at Universidad de las Américas. After completing school in Mexico, her parents told her that Morrilton High School had called to see if she would be interested in teaching Spanish for them.
After teaching at the high school, Caldwell was offered a job at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton where she stayed for 21 years. Caldwell then felt God calling her to work at CBC.
Caldwell says her placement at CBC was purely and totally God. Home and family are very important to Caldwell. Caldwell helps her son study for Quiz Bowls and enjoys the company of her daughter as they work on Bible journals together.
“I would love to do a Bible journaling group or something [at CBC], and just hang out and drink coffee and tea or whatever,” Caldwell said. “I want to establish that connection with students [so] that they know I’m in their corner, that I’m going to pray for them and that I will help them in whatever they need.”
Caldwell said that she loves her students and people in general.
“My goal is to make whatever we’re studying meaningful, personally to them and to get students to think instead of just learning and memorizing information for a test,” said Caldwell. “I want them to think about it, to make it meaningful to them and apply to their own lives.”
Weaver said family is also a top priority for her.
“I was born in Hot Springs into a lovely Christian family, that included [Elizabeth] Gomez [science professor] as my sister,” said Weaver. “I went to a small school, first through twelfth grade. From there I went to the University of Arkansas where I majored in psychology. When I graduated, I married my childhood sweetheart, whose name is Allen, who I’m married to still today. He’s my best friend and a very cool dude.”
Weaver continued her journey in Dallas when she was offered a job at a small inner-city school with many students she said came from single parent families with drug abuse. Weaver spent a lot of her time helping new teachers adjust to teaching. This sparked her interest in writing curriculums.
“I got to work on a lot of neat curriculums … with different cultures,” said Weaver. “We did a curriculum on Egypt, we did one on Rome, one on Greece. [I had] lots of fun researching it, reading children’s books and non-fiction books.”
After working with the curriculum, Weaver applied for a job at Laterno University, a Christain university in Texas, that is very similar to CBC.
“During that time God blessed me with twins,” Weaver said. “I did continue to teach at Laterno, evening classes, but it was extremely crazy because I would be juggling diapers and bottles.”
Weaver said she and her husband started applying for jobs to see if God would open any doors when Weaver came across an application for CBC. Weaver has a heart for children and teaching future teachers how to become educators.
“God worked through a number of people and a number of circumstances to bring us here,” stated Weaver.
This can also be said for Crook.
“I was born in Little Rock and raised in Malvern,” said Crook. “My family felt [that] church membership and a relationship with Jesus Christ were the most important things in life. My parents were the ones that ultimately led me to the Lord.”
Originally Crook attended a Missionary Baptist church at Malvern, then, when she got married, they moved to Bryant and attended North Bryant Baptist Church.
Crook says she is very eclectic in her hobbies and very personal with her family. She also said that her heart for kids is because of her educational background.
“I have taught in both public and private schools,” said Crook. “I got a master of education at Regent University with an emphasis in educational therapy, which is more comprehensive than dyslexia therapy.”
Crook used this to help her younger students with reading.
“It is quite rewarding,” said Crook. “I loved the first grade because I took students who had only preliminary knowledge of letter-sound relationships…from being non-readers to being able to read at an appropriate level within one year. Hearing them read stories and seeing their faces light up when they could read an entire book to their parents, or to their teacher, or to their friends … is quite rewarding.”
On top of elementary education and education therapy, Crook also has experience in administration.
“I felt lead to CBC because I realized that in my practices as an administrator that my biggest love, my greatest love was in helping the teachers grow professionally,” said Crook. “I enjoyed sitting down with them after an observation and talking about how the lesson went and helping them reflect on their practice. I felt a nudging towards doing more of that.”
Overall, the faculty say the new professors are looking forward to their future endeavors at CBC.
“My whole story is: God is good, He is faithful and if you lay it at His feet, He’ll show you the way to go,” said Weaver.
Photos by Caleb Long, Robyn Wilson, and Mallory Sullivan