Tarleton Honors 2021 Crystal Apple Society Inductees


STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University recognized six distinguished educators at a recent virtual induction into the Crystal Apple Society.

This year’s honorees are Dr. Randall Bowden, former department head and Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology; Ashlee Reed, Assistant Principal at Alvarado’s North Elementary School; Amy McKay, Director of Tarleton’s Revive employee wellness program; Dr. Leslie Leach, Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Development at the university’s Center for Educational Excellence; Dr. Cynthia McPherson, former Assistant Professor and Graduate Director of English and Languages; and Brandy Musick, head of Stephenville High School’s science department.

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

Dr. Randall Bowden

Dr. Bowden was honored for his service, leadership, mentorship and teaching. He died in April.

He spent the past 12 years working for The Texas A&M University System. In his eighth year at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Tarleton recruited him as department head and Professor in Higher Education Administration.

At Tarleton, Dr. Bowden launched the redesign of the doctorate of education program, redesigned the curriculum for principal preparation and initiated the first Research to Practice research symposium.

He was published in numerous academic journals and invited to present at national and international conferences. In 2000 he co-founded The Journal of Hispanic Higher Education and served as a consulting editor.

He also was a book editor and reviewer for academic journals. His published novel, Chasing Echoes, was his venture into a world filled with artistic creativity and imagination.

At 50 years old, Dr. Bowden entered his first triathlon and said he was hooked. In eight years he competed in several sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. An avid runner, he also completed several half marathons and marathons.

Ashlee Reed

Reed earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016 and returned to Tarleton in 2019 to the Educational Administration program. On campus she was active in the Tarleton Professional Educators student group, where she was elected president.

Her first job in education was at Chamberlin Elementary School in Stephenville. There she continued her association with TPE, connecting the chapter to teachers who needed help in their classrooms.

Away from her school in Alvarado, she promotes autism awareness on social media and is the driving force behind a local Adopt-a-Highway program, helping keep beautiful two miles of U.S. Highway 281.

Amy McKay

Perhaps best known as Director of Tarleton’s Revive employee wellness program, McKay also is Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance in the School of Kinesiology.

She teaches undergraduate courses and serves as a mentor to students pursuing careers in the health and fitness industry.

An active member of the profession, she has an extensive list of specialty certifications.

Dr. Leslie Leach

Honored with Crystal Apple induction for her leadership launching the Center for Educational Excellence, Dr. Leach led her team with a vision to make CEE a trusted pillar for the development of faculty and student scholars who are motivated, empowered, connected and celebrated.

She has been on the Tarleton faculty since 2012 and has served in several leadership roles, including head of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Coordinator of the Educational Leadership doctoral program, Associate Dean of Research and Sponsored Projects, and, currently, CEE leader and Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Development.

Dr. Cynthia McPherson

Dr. McPherson joined the faculty in 2014 as an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Languages and served as Graduate Coordinator for the master of arts in English program and a member of the graduate council. She died in March.

She was instrumental in the implementation of creative new curricular approaches in the MA English program, attracting students from business, education and the sciences, and partnering with other disciplines to add concentrations in technical and professional writing.

Most recently, she was an Assistant Professor and Graduate Director of English and Languages.

Brandy Musick

A Stephenville native, Musick graduated from Tarleton with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and was certified to teach through the Tarleton Model for Accelerated Teacher Education (TMATE) alternative certification program.

The 16-year high school educator teaches integrated physics and chemistry, Pre-AP and AP biology, and is the head of the Stephenville High School science department.

Additionally, she sponsors the National Honor Society and serves as a Workforce Industry Training sponsor, leading students in Stephenville’s Science on Saturday program to help learners connect science ideas through hands-on experiences.

The program also helped connect SHS to Tarleton, allowing for scientific presentations and displays from the physics, geology and biology departments.

She also was instrumental in initiating the POWERSET program (Powerful Opportunities for Women Eager and Ready for Science, Engineering and Technology), encouraging young women to pursue scientific interests.

To view the video of the ceremony, visit https://tarletonstate.us/CrystalApple2021.

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