News Archives: 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.”

HPU students and faculty member recognized for life-saving actions

hpu canoe class for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2013 – Nine Howard Payne University students and a faculty member are being hailed as heroes after their quick actions prevented a potential tragedy. Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science, and members of his basic canoeing class were recognized last week by the Board of Directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District for rescuing a would-be drowning victim at Lake Brownwood.

After several weeks of classroom instruction, Dr. Beelby and his students arrived at the lake on the evening of September 17 for the first time as a group. Thunderstorms earlier in the day, however, had threatened to disrupt plans to hold class on the water.

“The lake is one of the last places you want to be in the event of lightning, of course,” Dr. Beelby said. “But conditions improved and I made the decision late in the day to go ahead with the class.”

The class met near the shore as the clouds continued to dissipate. Instructing them to be on the lookout for lightning, Dr. Beelby moved his students into a remote area with deeper water. The group was working on capsize drills when several students noticed a young woman in the distance.

“She was about 60 meters away from us in deep water, screaming and flailing her arms,” Dr. Beelby said. “We rushed over to help.”

One student gave the teenage girl his personal flotation device, and Dr. Beelby kept her secured to the canoe as other students paddled them safely to shore. As Dr. Beelby tended to the girl, several students paddled to the other shore to retrieve their cell phones and call 911. The group then provided emotional support to the girl while waiting for the police to arrive.

Lt. Scotty Burke of the Lake Patrol was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Weeks later, he stood in the meeting room of the Brown County Water Improvement District Board of Directors, recognizing the members of the HPU group for their “selfless actions.”

Students honored for preventing this tragedy included Courtney Beene, a senior from Oak Leaf; Ethan Ferrel, a junior from Childress; Dacia Griffin, a junior from Early; Mallory Orms, a senior from Springtown; Colin Pritchard, a sophomore from Crawford; Jacob Sadler, a sophomore from Liberty Hill; Courtney Seybert, a sophomore from Bangs; Kristian Simpson, a sophomore from Burnet; and Sarah Wright, a freshman from Beaumont.

Dr. Beelby attributes the young woman’s rescue to promptings from the Holy Spirit.

“The weather was poor and everything that could go wrong that day had gone wrong,” he said. “Any other time, I would have cancelled class. But the Holy Spirit directed our paths. The Lord must have some wonderful plan for this young girl.”


Photo cutline: Nine HPU students and a faculty member were recognized by Lt. Scotty Burke of the Lake Patrol for their actions in preventing a tragedy. From left: Lt. Burke, Courtney Seybert, Dacia Griffin, Sarah Wright, Courtney Beene, Ethan Ferrel, Kristian Simpson, Jacob Sadler and Dr. Rick Beelby. Not pictured are Mallory Orms and Colin Pritchard.

Give yourself the gift of an HPU graduate education this holiday season

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2012 – This Christmas, Howard Payne University is encouraging people from Brownwood and beyond to give themselves the gift of a master’s education from HPU. The university offers four master’s degree programs, with a new semester beginning January 15.

The newest graduate program at HPU, the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry, will provide preparation for those who will minister to people through the local church and other related ministries, as well as provide a foundation for further graduate theological education. The 42-hour, non-thesis program is designed to be accessible to ministry students who are currently serving in locations away from the Brownwood area, and relocation is not required.

The second master’s option from HPU’s School of Christian Studies is the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry. This program provides preparation for those who will minister to teenagers and their families through the local church and other related ministries. The curriculum contains a combination of courses that emphasize biblical, theological and practical application. Like the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry degree, the 42-hour, non-thesis program is designed to work with the schedules of those serving away from the Brownwood area.

Those who are interested in becoming a school principal in the State of Texas are encouraged to apply to HPU’s Master of Education in Instructional Leadership program. With a 100 percent online delivery, this 30-hour, non-thesis degree allows students to attain their professional goals and advance their careers on their own schedule.

HPU’s Master of Business Administration degree is also designed to work around busy schedules. All courses are offered at night and on weekends and the 30-hour, non-thesis program can be completed in as few as 12 months. HPU’s MBA program concentrates on equipping students for future leadership roles, while also aiding them in their current careers.

For more information about HPU’s master’s programs, or any of the more than 100 undergraduate majors, minors and pre-professional programs, visit or call the university’s Office of Admission at 1-800-880-4478 or 325-649-8020.

HPU providing professional development for area teachers

BROWNWOOD – July 26, 2012 – Fifteen area science and math teachers, along with two elementary school principals, are on the Howard Payne University campus this summer participating in a three-week professional development experience.

“The teachers are learning and sharing many hands-on activities which integrate math and science and use technology,” said Dr. Pam Bryant, head of HPU’s Department of Physical Sciences.

pam_bryant_teaching_for_webBryant, along with Dr. Mike Rosato, dean of the School of Education, co-authored a grant proposal to the Teacher Quality Grants Program to integrate the Apple iPad 2 into the 5th grade classroom, along with in-depth studies of force, motion and energy for the teachers.

As part of the grant, each teacher receives an iPad 2, a stipend and many hands-on activities and iPad applications to take back to his or her classroom. According to Rosato, the teachers will be better equipped to integrate some of the latest technology in their respective classrooms, which research indicates increases student engagement and learning.

Activity leaders include Bryant; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, associate professor of physical science; Wendy Grooms, associate professor of mathematics; and Tonya Horner, associate professor of mathematics. These sessions will extend into monthly experiences for the participants during the fall and spring semester of the 2012-2013 academic year.

This summer experience for teachers is made possible by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Teacher Quality Grants Program, which provides funding to higher education institutions to promote improved instruction in mathematics and science for Texas school children by providing professional development for their teachers. According to the THECB website, the Teacher Quality Grants Program makes awards through a competitive review process, with the most highly ranked and recommended projects being selected for funding.

Participating schools are Bangs Middle School, Brookesmith Elementary, Brownwood Intermediate, Coleman Elementary, Comanche Middle School, Early Elementary, Goldthwaite Elementary, May Elementary, Richland Springs Elementary and Rising Star Elementary.


Photo cutline: Dr. Pam Bryant, standing, instructs a class of area middle school teachers as part of HPU’s participation with the Teacher Quality Grants Program.