Baylor professor holds baby so mom could take notes during class, complete assignment

Baby’s mother is a doctoral candidate in the Baylor University School of Education
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:28 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A new foster mom had a free hand to take notes in class thanks to a Baylor professor, and local superintendent, who held her baby at the front of the classroom.

Traniece Brown-Warrens, 36, is a doctoral candidate in the Baylor University school of education’s K-12 Executive Leadership Program, and a current elementary school principal, who commutes for monthly classes in Waco from Portland, Oregon.

The distance is tough enough, but Brown-Warrens never expected to add a baby to the mix. The addition came as a surprise to the principal when she was asked to be an emergency foster mom.

“I got a call asking me if I would be interested in getting him,” Brown-Warrens said. “Getting him happened quickly and suddenly.”

She had little time to prepare, including making arrangements for childcare, so she brought the boy she calls “Baby Bear” on the airplane and to the Waco classroom.

Baylor professor and Temple ISD superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott holding "Baby Bear" during his...
Baylor professor and Temple ISD superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott holding "Baby Bear" during his lecture so the child's foster mom could complete an assignment.(Courtesy Photos)

“So now, I am faced with having to go to school with a new kid so I decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps who showed me that my responsibility is my responsibility,” she said.

This past weekend in class, Brown-Warrens was struggling to complete a partner assignment and take notes while holding the six-month-old.

That’s when Dr. Bobby Ott, who says he loves kids, stepped in to offer a helping hand. “I wanted to allow the mother the opportunity to fully engage in partner activity,” Ott said.

“My professor was like ‘okay, when you all go to pass the baby, make sure the baby gets passed to me and that amazing professor is Dr. Ott, the Superintendent of Temple ISD and he’s absolutely amazing.”

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Brown-Warrens snapped a photo of the touching moment and posted it online of Ott cradling the baby in one arm while pointing to the lesson on a screen with the other.

“It was a really special moment to capture, and I decided to capture that moment to say ‘thank you’ and to show the Temple community how amazing their superintendent is. That he is never too busy to make sure his students have an opportunity to engage in the learning,” she said.

Brown-Warrens is the principal at Markham Elementary School in Portland.

She said despite the 2,200-mile distance to class she chose Baylor because she loved the sports culture.

She hopes to one day become a superintendent and while she doesn’t know how long she’ll get the opportunity to foster the baby she hopes it’s for a long time.

And as for childcare.

“Depends on how babysitters go,” she laughed.