Elizabeth Crawford Bentrup

Elizabeth Bentrup
Name & Graduation Year:
Elizabeth Crawford Bentrup
Early Childhood Education

Elizabeth Bentrup is the Head of Lower School at Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School in Houston, Texas. She is in her 14th year in education. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from TCU and a Masters in Educational Administration and Leadership from Lamar University. She is married to Alan, an Episcopal priest, and they have two boys, Ford (9) and Walker (7), a dog Dutch, and two cats, Cuddles and Chase.

Who you are (describe what makes you you):
I’m a mom to Ford (9) and Walker (7), a wife to my husband Alan, an educator, a friend, and a Frog. I’m an advocate for personal responsibility and helping others, sustainable systems, good coffee, great beer, and creation. I’m what I call a practical optimist; I seek out the best in people around me and hope to be an encouraging presence as well as a voice of reason. I have found that the things I value most are the intangibles that Alan and I seek to instill in our boys: patience, kindness, attentiveness, peacefulness, generosity, and love. This of course carries over to my work with students and teachers.

Since graduating I have had the opportunity to teach all levels either in school or Sunday school and work with college students, graduate students, and adults. There’s not much that can be said about all people (Dr. Sacken taught us well to avoid these overgeneralizations), but regardless of the group I’m teaching or working with, each person has a gift to share and more to learn. It is in these relationships, in listening to others’ stories and ideas, and in engaging in deep and focused conversation with others, that I get to continue learning about God, God’s creation, and the world around us. There is so much beauty in the world when we slow down enough to enjoy it. (There is also great beauty in Alamo Bowl come-from-behind victories, but that is perhaps for a different post).

Biggest accomplishment since graduation (career, community, personally):
I don’t know that I have any one great accomplishment since graduation, but I am certainly in the midst of my biggest challenge. This school year marks my first as a school administrator. I am the Head of Lower School at Saint Thomas’ Episcopal in Houston. Hurricane Harvey did a number on our campus: We lost 70 percent of our church and school property due to flooding during the continuous rain. As a result, we are working from a bifurcated campus, in temporary classrooms and offices, on alternate schedules, managing a master planning process, working to support our families in transition because of their own flooding, and continuing with a business-as-usual schoolyear. Despite all the goings-on at school, STE is a place that values family, and encourages a family-first approach to workflow. I still get to cook dinners with my boys, watch football with Alan, and get away from time to time with my family.

This is that moment where I can see that my past experiences contribute to my ability to work through the chaos and serve others. My experience with the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association taught me the importance of well-executed systems. My work at Virginia Theological Seminary gave me an understanding for organizational structures. My time at TCU, coursework at Lamar, professional development at UVA, and years in the classroom in Irving ISD, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, and at Saint Thomas’ have provided me with a growing knowledge of brain science, campus administration, pedagogy, curriculum design, assessment, and so much more that makes up the complex mechanism of a school. All of this professional learning paired with the importance of character modeled by my family and Alan’s support for me and enthusiasm for being dad makes this time in my life my biggest moment of gratitude.

Favorite thing about being a TCU Alumni:
TCU is a place I can be proud of. The community, the culture, the education I received, it all adds up to a part of my life I want to share with my family and want to claim in the world. I look forward to my visits to campus, I’m eager to share my experience as a student, and I love getting to know current students when our paths cross.

Favorite memory while in school at TCU:
It was the night before my first class freshman year. I was in my dorm room looking ahead in the text in preparation for my psychology class early the next morning. A girl down the hall poked her head in my room, told me I was being unnecessarily studious, and invited me out. That set the tone for my time at TCU. All my memories are focused on the connections I made: friends in Colby that first year, professors in the School of Education, sisters in Alpha Chi Omega, lacrosse teammates, other Young Life leaders, similarly-minded educators in my major, fellow Frogs I met long after leaving campus. To be a Horned Frog is to understand connection.

How has TCU prepared you for post-graduate life?
Academically-speaking, I still find myself grateful for my education at TCU. Dr. Flowers’ World Religion class content broadened my worldview and was taught in such a way that I still remember so much. My freshman and sophomore comp classes were taught by teachers who provided helpful feedback (instead of just grades) that improved my writing. Dr. Frye’s summer British Literature class absolutely changed me. His manner with students and letter writing assignment are two of his influences I have carried into my classroom. TCU’s School of Education was way ahead of itself. So much of the work on high expectations, differentiation, equity, inclusion, social-emotional learning, and the importance of play and recess that’s finally seeing daylight in the mainstream was part of our curriculum in the School of Ed back in the early 2000s.

What were some of your favorite things about campus and Fort Worth?
What’s not to like?! TCU is the perfect-sized campus in the perfect-sized city. The ability to walk anywhere on campus spoiled me. I am still in search of a lifestyle and geography that provides that luxury. I drank a lot of coffee and did a lot of reading and writing in the library. Those are habits I still value when the opportunity arises. Fort Worth’s Sundance Square on the weekends, the Stockyards on Thursday nights, the banks of the Trinity River to study, the Zoo with my visiting nieces and nephews, I was never lacking in places to go and things to do. And there was never any traffic! In my visits back to Fort Worth, it seems both campus and the city have only gotten better with time. Alan and I agree that we hope to find our way back to make Fort Worth our home. (Sorry, Houston.)

How do you stay connected with TCU and what’s been some of the things about TCU that you have been most proud of since your graduation?
We are football season ticket holders, so we make it back for at least a couple of games each season (and send Horned Frogs in our stead when we can’t make it!), and I follow all the athletics teams via Twitter. I love getting TCU Magazine in the mail to catch up on what the school and students have been up to. (One of my go-to books on culture is Michael Stallard’s Connection Culture which I first read about in the magazine.) We continue to donate back to the school; it’s the best way to say thank you for all that TCU gave me in my time there.

I am most-proud of TCU’s presence to the students. No longer on campus, it seems that TCU remains a place where ideas can be challenged and discussed, people matter most, responsibility is encouraged and supported, and students flourish on campus and beyond.

Where can we find, follow and friend you (or your company)?
I can be found at a watch party with my family at Eureka Heights Brewing Company in Houston (TCU alum owned and operated), cheering on my boys at our local YMCA, or in search of a good concert or arts fest around town with Alan.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizabethbentrup and www.facebook.com/StThomasEpiscopalSchool
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrsbentrup and www.twitter.com/STE_Houston
Instagram: www.instagram.com/stelowerschool

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