News Archives: School of Education

Classes underway for HPU’s sport and wellness leadership graduate program

Holloway and Evans for webBROWNWOOD – November 4, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s newest graduate program, the Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership (SWELL), is underway this fall with an opening cohort of 19 graduate students. Students are taking two courses, Leadership Seminar and Resource Management, on Monday and Tuesday evenings on the Brownwood campus. In addition, 11 of the students are serving HPU as graduate assistants in athletic coaching, sports information, event management, intramurals and departmental administration, gaining practical experience while preparing for leadership roles in the sport and wellness industries.

Among this initial cohort are six with no previous ties to HPU and five current university employees. The remaining students are HPU graduates, both recent and as far back as 2005.

Chassidy Holloway was completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama – Birmingham when she learned of HPU and the SWELL program.

“Once I made my visit to campus, I knew that this would be the perfect fit,” she said.

Today, Holloway serves as a graduate assistant in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science (ESS).

“The way classes are structured allows the students opportunities to really engage in the topics we discuss and find ways to incorporate them into our current work,” she said. “The classes have really helped me to cultivate my thinking and expand my insight on the opportunities available in the sport and wellness community. We have all bonded through our respect and passion for our respective fields and I believe that our engagement in class is a direct result of that bond.”

Dr. Graham Hatcher serves as program director and chair of the ESS department.

“We are already seeing the vitality of our department enhanced by our graduate students,” he observed. “They have served as class resources, assisted with fitness assessments for our ESS 1100 course and interacted informally with our undergraduate majors. We’ve moved from simply describing what graduate school offers to being able to demonstrate that firsthand. This group has had a range of professional experiences already in such diverse fields as international sport coaching, business ownership, university athletic administration and undergraduate teaching, yet they saw the benefit of added value by pursuing an advanced academic degree. Our department and the university are benefiting from their presence in measurable ways.”

Holloway said she feels honored to be at HPU and a member of the initial cohort of the SWELL program.

“The faculty I encounter daily are knowledgeable and accessible,” she said. “Having attended a larger institution as an undergraduate, I love the intimate feel on campus here at Howard Payne.”

To learn more about HPU’s Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership degree program, visit or call Dr. Graham Hatcher at (325) 649-8966.


Photo cutline: Chassidy Holloway, left, graduate assistant in HPU’s Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership program, assists Jada Evans, sophomore, on the treadmill.

Principal Training with a Christian Worldview: HPU master’s degree prepares students for success as Texas principals

BROWNWOOD – November 3, 2015 – Gayle White, high school principal for Kerens Independent School District, knew she couldn’t go wrong with choosing Howard Payne University to pursue her master’s degree and principal certification. As a third-generation HPU graduate, White had earned her bachelor’s degree from HPU as well.

“My grandparents met at Howard Payne and my parents met at Howard Payne,” she said. “I met my husband here and my daughter met her husband here.”

With such strong familial connections to the university, she was well aware of HPU’s commitment to Christ-centered, quality education. She soon learned that HPU offered its Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program fully online. This flexible format allowed White to intern as an assistant principal at a school in the Rio Grande Valley while pursuing her degree. She graduated from the program in 2012.

Not all online degree programs are created equal, White said.

“Not all programs are going to give you the same type of personalized education as Howard Payne,” she said. “They’re not going to provide the well-roundedness of HPU’s program wrapped up with Christian, global views like Howard Payne. As a Christian believer, that was very important to me.”

According to White, HPU helped her to grow and gave her the tools needed to do her job well.

“At my school this year, I’m working on developing leadership and empowering both teachers and students to be leaders,” she said. “My education from Howard Payne helped me tremendously in that. Empowering others is one of the core values that Dr. Robinson has ingrained in the program.”

Dr. Joe Robinson, director of the master’s degree program and professor of education, described his goals for the program.

“Our program is unique in that it combines aspects of organizational learning, brain-based research, and instructional leadership theory and practice from a Christian worldview,” he said. “What students gain from our program is immeasurable, the most noteworthy being a Christian-based perspective of school administration that enhances one’s potential to positively impact the lives of students, teachers and peers.”

The 30-credit-hour, non-thesis degree program consists of live, interactive lessons. White appreciated the collaborative nature of the program and holds all of her HPU instructors in high regard.

“They are fantastic people who know their subjects well,” she said. “It wasn’t just theory. They have real-world practical experiences from which to draw.”

She believes that’s one factor missing in many degree programs today.

“At other institutions there’s a whole lot of ‘read this book and write a summary,’” she said. “I want to hear from someone who’s already experienced it and knows what can and can’t be done. Again, I can’t say enough about HPU’s Christian worldview. There’s a difference when you lead with Christian principles. It just makes a difference.”

To learn more about HPU’s Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program, contact Dr. Joe Robinson at (325) 649-8205 or


Photo cutline: Gayle White graduated in 2012 from HPU’s Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree program. She is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

Dr. Daresa Voss named interim dean of HPU’s School of Education

Daresa Voss for webBROWNWOOD – September 8, 2015 – Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at Howard Payne University, was recently named interim dean of the university’s School of Education.

Dr. Voss joined HPU’s faculty in 2003 following 14 years of service elsewhere in Christian higher education at Wayland Baptist University and William Jewell College. She holds Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from Texas Tech University.

With numerous publications and presentations to her credit, Dr. Voss also is certified in Bilingual Elementary Certification, Elementary Teacher Certification and Kindergarten Endorsement.

Dr. Voss earned the Excellence in Teaching Award at HPU in 2009 and was named the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year for the 2010-2011 academic year.

“I am looking forward to Dr. Voss joining the efforts of the Deans Council and anticipate her rendering exceptional leadership,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer.


Photo cutline: Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at HPU, was recently named interim dean of the university’s School of Education.

HPU alumna Dr. Henrietta Grooms honored by Tyler ISD

BROWNWOOD – June 26, 2015 – Dr. Henrietta Grooms, a Howard Payne University alumna and professional educator for 37 years, was recently honored by the Tyler Independent School District. The ISD named career pathway wings in its new Career and Technology Center in recognition of three educators, including Dr. Grooms.

Dr. Grooms received both her Bachelor of Music Education (1956) and Master of Education (1958) degrees from HPU before earning a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Georgia in 1967.

A plaque recognizing her achievements states the wing is “named in honor of her innovative leadership as a lifetime educator and volunteer.”

The plaque goes on to state that Dr. Grooms has impacted thousands of students within Tyler ISD and the community through her roles as teacher, principal, central administrator, consultant for the Texas Education Agency and volunteer. Since retiring as assistant superintendent for instruction, she continues to influence students in the community through volunteer work with the Literacy Council of Tyler and The Salvation Army.

In 1992, she was presented the Distinguished Graduate award from HPU’s School of Education and she received HPU’s Medal of Service award during the university’s Homecoming festivities in 1997. Her husband, Dr. Randall Grooms, is a former member of HPU’s Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Grooms is indeed a living testimony of exactly what the School of Education at Howard Payne University strives to accomplish – producing the very best prepared Christian educators for service in the public schools of Texas,” said Dr. Michael Rosato, dean of HPU’s School of Education. “It is both exciting and encouraging to see her obedience to God’s call on her life and how He has continued to use her through many distinguished years of service. We celebrate with Dr. Grooms for this wonderful recognition which she so rightly deserves.”


Photo cutline: HPU alumna Dr. Henrietta Grooms was among three educators recently honored by Tyler ISD. She is pictured during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ISD’s new Career and Technology Center.

HPU’s Kappa Delta Pi honor society adds 28 new members

BROWNWOOD – June 12, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s School of Education inducted 28 members into the university’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education, at the close of the spring 2015 semester.

Kappa Delta Pi was founded in 1911 and there are now more than 600 chapters and 1.2 million active members worldwide. The organization was one of the first content-specific honor societies to be chartered.

In addition to maintaining high academic standards, the HPU students inducted this year are active in many parts of campus life including student leadership, athletics and various organizations.

Inductees included Blake Arbogast of Burkburnett, Olivia Belsher of Ferris, Shelby Byrd of Brownwood, Melanie Clark of Early, James Crow of Brownwood, Presley Davila of Brownwood, Patrick Dillard of Mesquite, Nicole Hamilton of Nocona, Julie Hart of Goldthwaite, AJ Hettler of San Antonio, Jennifer Hilla of Lampasas, Micah Huebner of Brazoria, Molly Hull of Brownwood, Ruby Johnson of Alvarado, Allison Mantell of Kennedale, Rebecca McFarland of May, Joanne Melton of Early, Janakay Oliver of Goldthwaite, Rachel Parks of Brownwood, Cathryn Rasbury of Cisco, Lorien Rubio of San Juan, Mason Samsel of Liberty Hill, Katie Straach of Coleman, Jaime Swanner of Gorman, Kaitlin Vernon of Bangs, Hannah Williamson of Fort Worth, Sharon Wolverton of Lampasas and Tolli Wylie of Godley.

“Students inducted into Kappa Delta Pi display strong work ethics and good character in and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Michael Rosato, dean of HPU’s School of Education. “We’re very proud of these students and the commitments they’ve made to serving others specifically through the field of education.”

HPU Health Fair aims to enhance wellbeing of students, personnel

Students at intellectual health booth for webBROWNWOOD – March 17, 2015 – Howard Payne University celebrated the upcoming spring season recently with a “Spring into Health Fair” for faculty, staff and students. The second annual fair featured health screenings, demonstrations, exhibits, games and a variety of giveaways.

“The purpose of the Health Fair is to assist our campus community in taking a proactive and holistic approach to health,” said Dr. Graham Hatcher, professor and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science.

Campus personnel and vendors from the community set up booths that addressed health from seven perspectives: physical, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, emotional, environmental and social.

At the “social” booth, for example, students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Communication led attendees in impromptu speaking challenges designed to enhance communication skills.

“Many face-to-face conversations have been replaced with texting and social media,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication. “We wanted to help students regain confidence with interpersonal communication and conversational skills.”

Leslie King and student for webDr. Hatcher said that people often overlook many of the components that comprise one’s overall health and wellbeing.

“Humans are very complex beings,” he said. “It’s necessary to take a well-rounded approach as we care for ourselves.”

Vendors included the Brown County Extension Agency, Brown County Health Department, Brownwood Regional Medical Center, Chick-fil-A, Cook Children’s Hospital, Family Services Center, GNC, Public Health Preparedness, Sodexo, United Health Services and the WIC Program.


Photo cutlines: Students gather around a booth at HPU’s second annual “Spring into Health Fair.”

HPU’s rock climbing instructor Leslie King, left, assists Dominic Packer, a freshman from Austin, with a hanging challenge.

Newest HPU master’s degree aims to improve lives through sports and wellness leadership

Hatcher and student for webBROWNWOOD – January 15, 2015 – Howard Payne University will soon offer a Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership (SWELL) degree program to prepare those who are entering into or wish to advance in the sport and/or wellness industries.

Classes will begin in August for the fall 2015 semester and those interested are encouraged to attend one of two informational sessions to be held February 5 and February 19 at 6 p.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum. Complimentary light refreshments will be served and those who attend will receive free admission to the Yellow Jacket basketball games that follow. The Lady Jackets will tip off at 5:30 p.m. each evening.

The SWELL program is an affordable option for those looking to impact lives through careers that emphasize the importance of health.

“Not only is SWELL the most affordable master’s degree in Texas for professionals entering or employed in the sport and wellness industries, we’ve also designed it to be one of the most accessible,” said Dr. Graham Hatcher, chair of HPU’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science (ESS) and ESS professor.

The program is designed for both full-time and part-time students with most classes scheduled in the evenings to accommodate work schedules. Limited campus housing and board plans are available for those who may wish to live on campus. In addition, competitive graduate assistantships will be available to help offset the cost of tuition.

While many graduate programs across the country focus solely on either the sport industry or wellness industry, SWELL adapts the core knowledge and skill sets of each into a comprehensive program. Consequently, SWELL graduates may find greater career flexibility and opportunity for service.

“We’ve created a holistic program that includes instruction in a variety of topics that revolve around impacting the quality of life for American citizens,” said Dr. Hatcher. “As with all HPU academic programs, the SWELL courses will be enriched by the university’s faith tradition.”

Courses include instruction on legal and ethical aspects of sport/wellness, marketing and public relations, event planning, resource management and more. Students will enter the SWELL program in cohort groups, beginning fall 2015. The program consists of 10 courses and 30 graduate hours, and can be completed in 20 months.

For more information about the SWELL program, visit or e-mail


Photo cutline: Dr. Graham Hatcher, right, chair of HPU’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science (ESS) and ESS professor, serves as director of HPU’s new Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership (SWELL) degree program.

HPU’s Dr. Rick Beelby inducted into WBU’s Athletic Hall of Honor

Rick Beelby WBU for webBROWNWOOD – October 8, 2014 – Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, was recently inducted into Wayland Baptist University’s Athletic Hall of Honor. Dr. Beelby coached track and field at WBU from 1988 to 2001.

A news release issued by WBU quoted Dr. Beelby as saying the development of character is the most essential element for participating in athletics.

“I like what athletics can do for young men and women,” he said. “It gives them a purpose and a direction and an opportunity to set goals and achieve those goals if they use discipline and honest effort. I was probably attracted to that aspect of (coaching) as much as anything.”

The news release listed Dr. Beelby’s accomplishments at WBU, including training 30 women and six men National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national champions, guiding the men’s and women’s track and field teams to NAIA indoor national championships and three times being named the NAIA National Coach of the Year.

Dr. Graham Hatcher, department chair and professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, said HPU also celebrates Dr. Beelby’s recognition by WBU.

“Since coming to HPU, Dr. Beelby has provided exemplary leadership across campus and in developing an instructional program that is noted statewide,” said Dr. Hatcher. “But most important is his Christian commitment and inspirational mentorship to hundreds of students.”


Photo cutline: Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, was recently inducted into Wayland Baptist University’s Athletic Hall of Honor. He is pictured on the HPU campus.

HPU education students travel to London

By Kendyl Moore ’14

BROWNWOOD – July 29, 2014 – Eight education majors from Howard Payne University traveled to London recently to learn firsthand about the British education system and compare it to education in Texas.

London group final for webHPU’s School of Education travels to London every other year to allow as many students as possible to attend. Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, associate professor of education, served as the trip sponsor and described it as an incredible learning experience.

“Even though things are done differently in the British education system, it’s still a good way of doing them,” states Dr. Lehrer. “This trip provides a great way to observe a different culture in a setting that’s familiar.”

The group stayed in London but took day trips to Warwick Castle, Hampton Court Palace and the village of Herne Bay. At Herne Bay, on the coast near Canterbury in Kent, the students spent a full day observing a primary school classroom. They compared the differences in teaching styles and the education systems in Britain and Texas.

They were also able to see many historical and educational sites in and around London including Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the London Eye and more.

“My wish is that every HPU student has the opportunity to travel,” says Dr. Lehrer. “It opens up students’ minds and expands their worldviews.”

The students who went on the trip were Jeremy Bartley, senior from Brownwood; Shelby Byrd, senior from Brownwood; Casey Coffee, senior from Early; Allyson Gainey, senior from Kermit; Katie Mann, junior from Blanket; Kensey Martinez, senior from Brownwood; Jill Parson, sophomore from Llano; and Whitney Turnacliff, senior from Andrews.

In addition to Dr. Lehrer, trip sponsors included Jill Underwood, adjunct instructor of education, and Paula Hoyle Morelock, former educator and HPU alumna.


Photo cutline: Students and faculty from HPU’s School of Education recently traveled to London. Left to right: Jill Underwood, Katie Mann, Jeremy Bartley, Whitney Turnacliff, Allyson Gainey, Kensey Martinez, Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Shelby Byrd, Paula Morelock, Casey Coffee and Jill Parson.

HPU education professor publishes children’s book

Dr Voss and book for webBROWNWOOD – June 5, 2014 – Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at Howard Payne University, never really intended to write a children’s book but, according to Voss, God had other plans. In response to the 2013 Moore, Okla., tornado, Dr. Voss penned “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange,” a book dedicated to all disaster survivors.

“I remember watching the tornado coverage on TV and wondering, as a former kindergarten teacher, would I have been able to stay calm and keep my students calm,” she said.

The answer, as written on the back cover of her new book, is “a definite ‘yes,’ but only with God’s help.”

Dr. Voss was on a road trip a few weeks after the tornado when God revealed the story to her in a “colorful movie format.” In a hurry to capture the story, she began dictating the scenes on her iPhone. When she arrived home, it took a day to transcribe everything into text and several months to revise and refine.

The story is designed to bring comfort to children, parents, teachers and communities following any tragic event. Intended for second- and third-grade audiences, the book contains the appropriate vocabulary and literary devices. It is illustrated by Dr. Voss’ son, Ben Voss, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lubbock.

Dr. Voss has donated the book to many school districts, hoping it will be read in classrooms in towns that – like Moore and the fictional community in the book – have experienced disasters.

“This is God’s story and He wanted me to spread the word,” she said. “I’ve learned when God nudges you to do something, you obey.”

“Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange” is available for purchase at retailers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It may also be purchased through the publisher at


Photo cutline: Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at HPU, holds a copy of her new book, “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange.”