Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Dr. Kristie Cerling


Dr. Kristie Cerling is the associate dean in the HBU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and an associate professor of Education. Dr. Cerling’s experience is extensive; she worked as a K-12 teacher, principal, curriculum director and superintendent of schools before moving into higher education. Her specialties include teaching strategies, classroom management and content area reading. Dr. Cerling has presented in numerous professional settings and has received multiple honors.

Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University, talks with Dr. Kristie Cerling, associate dean in the HBU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

“Almost everybody looks back at a teacher as that inspiring person who has an influence on their lives,” Johnston says. “I can think of several teachers in my own training who really motivated me to reach higher. Could there be any higher calling than to be a teacher?”

Cerling agrees; “As a teacher, you have such power and you don’t even know it. I think a teacher can say one sentence, and either positively or negatively change the trajectory of a student’s life. I remind teachers of that power and to use it wisely and carefully.”

Teachers help students, and then ultimately benefit families and communities, Cerling says. “I think that’s an honor,” she says. “Any time that we can place Christian teachers out into public or private education, it makes a difference in a student’s life and that just compounds. Here, they’ll be able to learn all the tools of the trade. They get that with one-on-one relationships with their professors. We have small classroom ratios, flexibility in schedules, and their academic advisors are their professors. They’re able to ask questions. We have great relationships with partner schools in the community.”

School district administrators see HBU graduates in a positive light, Cerling says. “I think they see our service hearts. They see quality candidates. Over and over, the feedback we get is that our teaching candidates, after they’ve graduated and left us, they have high moral, ethical behavior, they engage students, and they’re there with a positive attitude,” she says.

The one-on-one attention that HBU students get is unique to the University, and students benefit from exclusive opportunities ranging from mock interviews to teaching abroad. Cerling says, “Come visit us, and what you’ll see are faculty members who are friendly, engaging and who make time for you.”


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