Colangelo Honored with Exemplary Service Medal at the SMA Texas Christian Academy

School Updates

Laura Colangelo, the Executive Director of the Texas Private Schools Association, became the 31st person to receive San Marcos Baptist Academy’s Exemplary Service Medal May 12 for “distinguished service to God and man through Christian education.”

SMA Texas Christian Academy gives service medal to Laura Colangelo a legislator who does work for k-12 private schools in Texas.
Dr. Brian N. Guenther, president of San Marcos Baptist Academy, and Dr. Ruth B. Welborn, chair of the Academy Board of Trustees, present the Exemplary Service Award to Laura Colangelo, Executive Director of the Texas Private Schools Association May 13. The award is the highest honor given at the Academy, recognizing individuals for “distinguished service to God and man through Christian education.” Colangelo was also the speaker at the Academy’s 114th annual Baccalaureate. (Photo by Marcus McDonald)

The medal is the highest award the Academy can bestow and has been presented to 30 individuals since it was established in 1970. Dr. Brian N. Guenther, SMA President, and Dr. Ruth Welborn, Chair of the Board of Trustees, presented the award to Collangelo at the Academy’s Baccalaureate Service. After receiving the award, Collangelo shared an inspiring Baccalaureate message to the Class of 2022.

As Executive Director of the TPSA, Colangelo represents more than 900 private, accredited schools in Texas, advocating for those schools in the state legislature and in Washington, D.C.  In this role, she is the “public voice for private schools in Texas” and is regularly listed in the Texas lobby power rankings.  

She has had four successful legislative sessions in which she passed bills that both benefit and support private education. Recently, Colangelo has also been instrumental in assisting Texas private schools with Emergency Assistance for Non-public Schools (EANS) funding for goods and services incurred as a result of the pandemic.

Prior to her current role , she was the head of an Episcopal preschool in Austin, Texas, focused on providing a quality early childhood educational experience in a historically under-served population.  Her focus was on providing an individualized and developmentally-appropriate curriculum with an eye to school readiness. This approach resulted in exponential growth for the school and the community.  

Colangelo received her Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University and her Master’s in Education at the University of Kentucky.  After teaching middle and upper school Spanish in both public and private schools in Houston, she focused her University of Texas doctoral work in curriculum and instruction on the integration of minority students in k-12 private schools in TX

“Ms. Colangelo is able to use both her experience and research not only to represent the interests of private schools, but also to advance education policy focused on quality outcomes for all students in Texas,” said Dr. Guenther during the award presentation. “It is a high honor and a great personal privilege for Dr. Ruth Welborn and me to present this Exemplary Service Award on behalf of the Office of the President and the San Marcos Baptist Academy Board of Trustees.”

Founded in 1907, San Marcos Academy is a college preparatory school in Texas for boarding and day students.