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HBU Alumnus chosen as recipient of 2021 B.E.S.T. Award

Houston Baptist University (HBU) Alumnus Jonathan Powell ’08 is one of nine recipients of the 2021 Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T.) Award. The award celebrates Christian educators who are living out their faith daily among their students.

The annual award is presented to a graduate of a Texas Baptists institution who is currently serving as a teacher or administrator in the Texas Public School System and is a member of a church supportive of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT).

During Powell’s 14-year-tenure in the New Caney Independent School District (NCISD), he has served two years as Principal of Keefer Crossing Middle School and several years as Associate and Assistant Principal of New Caney High School.

NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert describes Powell as the “definition of a servant leader” and called his care and compassion for his students and staff as “contagious.”  “Johnathan is a star in our district and we are very fortunate to have him as a leader in New Caney ISD.  He is very deserving of any and all accolades coming his way,” said Calvert.

HBU Alumna, Wendy Sharp ’94 commended Powell for his service to NCISD and his leadership in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Jonathan is a bright star for NCISD. He became a principal in the 2019-20 school year and covid happened. It’s been a great pleasure to watch him lead during this time – making kids and teachers more important than grades and performance. He is opening a brand new school this fall. I’m so excited for this opportunity for him. He is a very valued NCISD employee. And, he makes HBU look good as an outstanding alumnus,” said Sharp, RN and NCISD Board of Trustees (Position 3) member.

Powell, described as an educator with a big heart, says he feels blessed to serve in a district that supports the selfless initiatives of its students. In 2020, during the Christmas season, he raised $2,350 to buy presents and food for 35 students and their families as a part of a “Principal on the Roof” fundraiser held on his campus. He had a list of items to make his rooftop stay very comfortable, but as students raised more money, items were removed. He went without a tent, breakfast, lunch, and more, to provide for families in need.

A native of Crosby, Texas, Powell continued his family’s legacy of attending HBU where his father, Bob Powell ‘76, served as an HBU Trustee, and his mother, Linda Powell ’77, was a student. His older sister and brother-in-law also are HBU graduates.

Powell is married to Emily and the couple has three children. The family attends First Baptist Conroe.