Recent News News Archives News Categories

HPU alumna Judith Ozuna receives Texas Baptists’ 2023 B.E.S.T. Award

BROWNWOOD – November 6, 2023 –Howard Payne University alumna Judith Ozuna was recently named by Texas Baptists as one of nine recipients of the Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T.) Award for 2023.

The B.E.S.T. Award is coordinated by the Office of Cooperative Program Ministry and annually recognizes Christian educators who live out their faith among their students and their alma maters. The award recipients are alumni representing one of the nine Texas Baptist universities, serve in faculty or administrative roles in the Texas public school system and are members of a church supportive of Texas Baptists.

Ozuna was valedictorian of Early High School in 1996, where she now serves as principal. She then became a student at HPU and graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and education. At HPU, she received the Outstanding Math Education Student award and was a first-generation college graduate in her family. After graduation, she became a teacher and taught math and Spanish.

In 2007, Ozuna’s colleagues voted her Teacher of the Year for the Early Independent School District, an award she received again in 2014. Then, in 2010, she was honored as a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction. She went on to receive a master’s degree by taking online courses through Angelo State University. In 2022, Ozuna was awarded the Region 15 ESC Principal of the Year.

Both Judith and her husband, Juan, who is also a 1999 graduate of HPU, have served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors at their alma mater. Juan is a vice president at the Mills County State Bank. They have two sons – Kaleb and Elijah. The Ozunas are active members of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Brownwood.

Dr. Kalie Lowrie ’06, HPU’s assistant vice president for alumni relations, expressed her support of the selection of Ozuna for this award.

“Judith is a deserving recipient of this award that represents commitment to public education and faithful service to the Lord,” said Dr. Lowrie. “She sees her work as her calling and students are blessed by her investment in their lives. We are proud to have Judith selected to represent the caliber of HPU alumni among other leaders recognized around the state.”

For more information about HPU, please visit


Cutline: Judith Ozuna ’99 (center) was named a recipient of Texas Baptists’ Baptist Educators Serving Texans (B.E.S.T) Award for 2023, presented to her at her church, of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Brownwood. Pictured with Ozuna is Dr. Cory Hines ’97, HPU president, and Dr. Kalie Lowrie ’06, assistant vice president for alumni relations at HPU.