College of Education Rankings

Grand Canyon University (GCU) and the College of Education keep you connected to all that is happening at GCU. Stay well-informed of notable awards and recognition that our faculty, students and college have been awarded. Visit GCU Today for an extensive listing of student accomplishments.

Ratings and Rankings

GCU’s Master's in Elementary Education degree program is ranked best online program in the Southwest.1

Showcase and Awards

Alumna Named Teacher of the Year

Lynette Stant graduated from GCU’s College of Education with a MA in Teaching in 2006. Since then, Stant has gone on to teach Native American children. As a Native American herself, being able to be part of their educational journey meant a lot for her personally. In 2019, Stant was named Teacher of the Year in Arizona, becoming the first Native American to receive that honor.

Dr. Hightower is proud to serve on the Board of Trustees for GCU and is on the College of Education Advisory Board. She served as former president for the Arizona School Administrators and the Arizona Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (AzALAS), as well as a past executive committee member for the Arizona Academic Standards Assessment (AASA).

In 2023, Dr. Hightower was recognized as Arizona’s Superintendent of the Year. In 2019, she was named National Latinx Superintendent of the Year among other humbling recognitions, including Arizona School Administrators Superintendent Award for mid-sized districts.2

Dr. Lupita Ley Hightower

Dr. Alicia Kozimor presented at the 2023 Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) Annual Symposium and the Educators Rising Conference on “Meeting Community Needs: Emergency Substitute Cohorts.”3 During her presentation, she shared the work done by GCU’s College of Education staff and faculty to create Emergency Substitute Teacher cohorts as part of an “Earn and Learn” model of teacher residencies.

Dr. Alicia Kozimor

Dr. Brandon Juarez serves as a national Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) Quality Review Team member/reviewer. Dr. Juarez dedicates his time to serving as a quality review team member for multiple Colleges of Education across different higher education institutions. Through this valuable service, he has had the opportunity to gather insights into best practices, stay updated on expectations and job-related skills to impart to his teacher candidates, and observe firsthand how the four AAQEP standards were implemented and put into action at various institutions.4

Dr. Brandon Juarez

Dr. Crystal McCabe and Dr. Mike McCabe presented on a timeless topic at the 2023 Educators Rising Conference, titled "Where Does My Job End and I Begin? Creating a Healthy Balance Between My Personal and Professional Life.” During their presentation they focused on the different hats that teachers wear in their personal and professional lives, how to manage and balance healthy roles, as well as self-care.5

Dr. Crystal McCabe

Katie Sprute was recognized for five years of service on the Phoenix North Regional Council of First Things First.6 First Things First is Arizona's Early Childhood agency. The Phoenix North Regional Partnership Council makes strategic investments to support the healthy development and learning of children birth to age 5 in the region. Katie was recently nominated as the vice chair of the council and represents the educational community.

Katie Sprute

Dr. Meredith Critchfield, dean of the College of Education, published “Impact of a Faith- Based Social Justice Course on Pre-Service Teachers” in The Journal of Research on Christian Education. She reported her findings on a qualitative case study on the impact of a required social studies course for pre-service teachers.7

Dr. Meredith Critchfield

Dr. Lynn Basko published “Maintaining Efficiency and High Standards in a New Work Environment” in the November 2022 issue of The Journal of Scholarly Engagement.8 This article discusses strategies for reducing stress and increasing efficiency in a new work environment, such as working from home. These strategies included reflective practice, goal setting, creating a schedule and staying connected with colleagues. This article describes how to implement these strategies to increase effectiveness and allow faculty members to focus their time on maintaining high standards for their students and their own work.

Dr. Lynn Basko

Dr. Mike McCabe and Kimber Underdown presented at the 2023 Educators Rising Conference, titled “All Roads Lead to Education.”5 During their presentation, they discussed the possible career paths in the field of education that are not limited to just being teachers. The presentation reviewed the roles educators can take on and that directly and indirectly affect the functioning of a school.

Dr. Rebekah Dyer is the current president of the Arizona Neuro-Diversity Inclusivity Parent Teacher Student Association (NDI-PTSA). This organization was formed to support districts and schools in the state of Arizona in understanding and supporting neurodiversity. She also serves on the advisory board for the L.O.P.E.S. Academy at Grand Canyon University. The L.O.P.E.S. Academy provides an opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities to experience college. She teaches classes for the Academy as well. Dr. Dyer also hosts an annual Disability Week for the university campus to increase knowledge of disability and promote inclusion.

Dr. Rebekah Dyer

In Spring 2023, Dr. Shawna Martino, who leads Canyon Global Educators, took a select team of preservice educators to Madrid, Spain to serve at the Friendship House, sponsored by World Venture. The short-term team taught English as a Second Language to North African immigrants. The Friendship House aims to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others, especially the North African immigrant families living in the neighborhood. As a team they work together to prepare lessons and organize activities before the trip.

Dr. Shawna Martino

Theresa Jones, 2023 College of Education alum, presented before the Arizona Senate Education Committee.9 She shared insights about the diligent efforts she had undertaken to equip herself as an educator, highlighting the invaluable support she received from the dedicated faculty and instructional materials provided by GCU COE. In addition, she advocated for the inclusion of GCU in the Arizona Teachers' Academy Scholarship, emphasizing the institution's commitment to producing highly skilled and qualified teachers who can contribute significantly to the state's educational landscape., Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education Programs in 2022, in November 2022.

2 Huron: Studer Education (n.d.). 2023 Superintendents of the Year. Retrieved on June 23, 2023.

3 Kilen, Mike (2023, Feb. 22). COE leaders featured at national conferences. GCU News. Retrieved on July 25, 2023.

4 Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (2022). AAQEP Annual Report for 2022 Advaned Degree Programs. Retrieved on July 25, 2023.

5 Educators Rising (2023). 2023 National Conference Program. Retrieved on July 25, 2023.

6 First Things First (n.d.). Phoenix North Region. Retrieved on August 11, 2023.

7 Critchfield, Meredith (2018, April 8). Impact of a Faith-Based Social Justice Course on Pre-Service Teachers. Taylor & Francis Online.

8 Basko, EdD Lynn (2022, Nov.) Maintaining Efficiency and High Standards in A New Work Environment. Journal of Scholarly Engagement.

9 Arizona State Legislature (2023, March 15). Senate Education. Retrieved on August 23, 2023.