Tarleton Recognizes Annual Crystal Apple Honorees


STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University recognized five distinguished educators at a Nov. 30 virtual induction into the Crystal Apple Society.

This year’s honorees are former College of Education Dean Dr. Jordan Barkley; Ms. Lillian Hinson, an instructor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. Debbie Liles, Tarleton history professor; Dr. Rebekah Miller-Levy, who established the Tarleton Learning Resource Center; and Ms. Tina Sloan, a fourth-grade teacher in the Huckabay ISD.

The event was originally scheduled for last spring.

“Safety concerns related to the global pandemic prevented us from gathering together,” said Dr. Kim Rynearson, Dean of Tarleton’s College of Education. “But recognition should not be delayed. These are just a few of the dedicated professionals who care for, educate and support individuals from preschool to professional school.”

In 2012 under the leadership of Dr. Jill Burk, the College of Education established a new award to honor educators who have made a positive impact on students. Since then, Crystal Apple Society Award winners have been identified annually.

Dr. Jordan Barkley

Dr. Barkley is credited with fostering the Crystal Apple program at Tarleton during his time at the helm of the College of Education.

He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Auburn University. Prior to coming to Stephenville he was a classroom instructor, then college professor.

He supported the growth of academic programs, initiated the Dean’s Innovation Grant, established the Education Revolution small gifts fund, helped develop plans for a new School of Kinesiology, supported college-wide participation in study abroad and, with several colleagues, brought the CORE grant and its programming to the campus.

Lillian Hinson

Lillian Hinson began her career in education as a second-grade teacher in the Granbury ISD. She moved on to Paradise and Decatur, and altogether spent two decades teaching elementary school students.

Encouraged by her mother, she earned her graduate degree in writing across the curriculum. She taught at Weatherford College Wise County, Tarrant County College Northwest Campus and at Tarleton, where she has held several positions, including serving as a manager of Community Outreach.

Tina Sloan

Tina Sloan began her teaching career in 2000, accepting her first assignment as a first-grade teacher in the Grape Creek ISD in San Angelo. After a year she moved to Beale Air Force Base in Yuba City, Calif., accompanying her military spouse. There she began a two-year stint utilizing her special education certification by working with visually impaired students.

She moved back to Texas in 2003 and spent 13 years working with special needs students in the San Angelo ISD. She completed her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at Angelo State University in 2015.

Dr. Debbie Liles

Dr. Liles earned her associate’s degree from Weatherford College, her bachelor’s from Columbia College, a master’s and her Ph.D. from the University of North Texas.

She serves as the W.K. Gordon Center Endowed Chair in Texas History, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in history. Her scholarly work includes numerous book reviews, presentations and invited talks.

Dr. Rebekah Miller-Levy

Dr. Miller-Levy has an extensive background in education gleaned from the numerous schools she attended in her youth, including stops in Houston and Andrews before graduating from Lee High School in Midland.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s in history and a doctorate in curriculum and education at Texas Tech. She has been recognized for teaching excellence as the Midland ISD Teacher of the Year and as a recipient of the Tarleton O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award.


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