SPRINGFIELD, MO — The students and faculty at Evangel University have honored Dr. Shonna Crawford, assistant professor of education, for her outstanding accomplishments as a young member of the EU faculty.
The Orville & Jewel Mills Young Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship and Service was presented last month, during the 58th Annual Commencement Ceremony.
Orville and Jewel Mills established the Mills Award in 2006 to recognize outstanding professors who are less than 45 years of age. It includes an unrestricted cash grant. Orville Mills is a retired comptroller of Exxon-Mobile and serves on the university board of trustees. The couple’s three daughters are graduates of Evangel.
“I feel that this award is a reflection of the hard work of many people from Evangel that have invested into me over the years.” said Crawford, a 2000 and 2003 EU graduate.
Crawford joined the Evangel faculty in 2011, teaching literacy and language courses and facilitating the Student Teaching Seminar. She also helps coordinate the Master’s of Education in Literacy program at Evangel.
“Dr. Crawford is an exceptional educator,” said Dr. Colleen Hardy, chair of the Department of Education. “She has an enthusiasm for literacy and academic rigor, and an authentic commitment to the development of students. This makes her a valuable colleague in the Education Department and a true asset to the Evangel community.”
David Kelly, assistant principal at Nixa High School, agrees. He is enrolled in Evangel’s Doctor of Educational Leadership in Curriculum & Instruction program.
“Dr. Crawford has helped tremendously by providing a springboard for the dissertation writing process,” he said. “She has instilled confidence in me as a writer, while always providing feedback in a meaningful and productive way.”
In addition to Crawford’s class load, being published in literacy journals and presenting at international conferences, she also spends every other spring break leading a team of Evangel education majors to Belize.
“There we work with teachers in the schools by teaching students and providing professional development” said Crawford. “This last trip we were also able to do an outdoor VBS-type outreach and a family literacy event! The trip always ends with a snorkeling excursion, which is a great reward for working during spring break.”
A native of Farmington, Minn., Shonna (Penners) Crawford graduated from Evangel in 2000 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and again in 2003 with an M.Ed in Reading. In 2015 she earned her Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching & Curriculum Literacy from the University of Missouri.
“I started my career teaching 3rd grade across the street at Weller Elementary,” said Crawford. “Nancy Colbaugh was my principal, so I began under the best leadership!”
Affirming her assessment, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Dr. Colbaugh, a 1970 Evangel graduate, the National Distinguished Principal Award for Missouri in 2003.
Crawford taught in Missouri and Oklahoma for the next several years. Prior to her return to Evangel, she served four years as the professional development trainer and consultant for the Missouri Reading Initiative, working with the public school systems in Springfield, Willard, Spokane, Marshfield and Lebanon.
Crawford is known for her enthusiasm and ability to push credit to others.
“The shared goal of the department is to create caring, committed, competent teachers that are equipped to impact the world! This shared vision creates an awesome and unified working environment,” said Crawford.
Savannah Acevedo, a teacher at Watkins Elementary, is enrolled in the literacy master’s program at Evangel. The University’s innovative Literacy Lab has been one of her favorite components of the program.
“Dr. Crawford encouraged me to do what was truly best for my students and provided feedback to set me in the right direction,” said Acevedo. “Her guidance has deepened my learning and love for literacy, and her joy for learning is contagious!”
Shonna is married to Michael Crawford, a 2000 Evangel graduate. Together, they have two children, Gavin, 12, and Aubree, 9.