Educator honored for efforts in improving elementary
From early childhood, Lori Apple had an interest being a teacher. Instead, she went into the medical field, working ten years as a radiologic technologist in mammography before walking away to pursue the calling she’d felt years before. A year later, with a newly minted teaching certificate in hand, she was a special education teacher at a Wichita Falls, Texas, elementary school. In 2013, she earned a Master of Education degree at Wayland’s campus in Wichita Falls and moved into administration.
Just a few years later, peers affirmed that calling by naming Lori the Region Nine Assistant Principal of the Year for 2018.
“I wanted to be more challenged and I like learning new things. I couldn’t see myself doing x-rays until I was 60, so I chose teaching,” says Lori of her original decision to change careers. “I just love working with kids and seeing them set goals and being successful. I had a really positive childhood and just wanted to help other kids have the same thing.”
Facing new challenges
As a new teacher, Lori Apple could never have imagined the kind of challenges she would face in public education. But it was those very hurdles that led to her recognition by the region.
Three years ago, Lori started the school year as the new assistant principal at Kate Burgess Elementary, a struggling school that was facing improvements required by the Texas Education Agency due to low test scores. The battle would be uphill all the way: more than 70 percent of their students were reading below grade level, and 95 percent were considered economically disadvantaged.
“It was quite overwhelming. We really had to start from the bottom and get discipline under control, come up with a discipline plan that kept them in class but not interrupting instruction for everyone else,” says Lori of the plan to turn Burgess around. “We had to get all new training for our teachers… those who teach students not on grade level have to be extra good, so we got them that extra training. We had to get routines and procedures in place for the whole school, everything from walking down the hall to lining up for recess, etc. If you don’t have that in place, it spills into the classroom.”
Lori said the plan also focused intensively on the problem area of reading. Every student not reading on grade level received reading intervention for one hour each day in small groups, with reassessment every six weeks to measure progress. Buy-in from both parents and teachers was also key: the changes were big and success would come, but flexibility was the order of the day. Every step was strategically planned.
“In some schools you just throw darts and hope something will hit, but you can’t do that with kids not reading on grade level. Their instruction has to be very targeted and specific to their needs,” Lori said.
Success within grasp
The plan succeeded. In two years, the school’s state-mandated improvements were lifted.
“It feels really liberating to know that all the teachers’ and students’ hard work is paying off and they are continuing to make progress,” says Lori. “The most rewarding part was that early on they had no pride in their school work and didn’t even know what it meant to pass or fail. We had to do a lot of incentives and celebrate any progress, not just passing. That built in some intrinsic pride and motivation for them.
“We also had them set goals for improvement, even if it was small improvements. As we saw them improve in their academics, we saw their behavior improve.”
While Lori started the 2017-18 school year back at Burgess, she’s ending it at the helm of Haynes Northwest Academy as interim administrator, filling in the gap at the behest of the school district. But she’s glad to be able to take her love for students and desire to leave a place better than she found it to another campus.
Lori and husband Danny, who runs a manufacturing company and a pool-cleaning business, have two grown daughters: Claire, a senior at University of North Texas, and Holly, a paraprofessional in the school district.
Devotional: Lessons from Mary
Mary sometimes gets a bad rap. Let’s examine some Scripture to see what there is for us as an example and model Christian.
In Luke 1:26-38 the angel Gabriel announces to Mary she will bear a Son by the Holy Spirit who will be the prophesied Son of David, the priest-king.
In verse 38 she submits to God’s plan announced through the ministry of the angel “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (RSV) We see from this interchange that Mary completely and unreservedly submitted to God’s will for her life to do something no one else could ever do. Handmaid suggests submission to one greater (God). To be humble is to know who we are in relation to God. And she submitted with her will as she consented. May we consider her example and imitate her humility by consenting to God’s will in our lives in everything.
In verse 28 the angel greets her with this unique greeting, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” The underlined can also be translated (highly) favored one. The Greek word here (transliteration: kecharitomene) means Mary was filled with grace from her conception through her natural death. Grace is the life of God in us and we must cooperate with that grace. Mary is an excellent example for us in cooperating with grace. Mary cooperated with all her being, desiring only to be the woman God created her to be. Let us cooperate with God’s grace in our lives by what we do and avoid.
In Luke 1:39-56, after the angel informed her that her kinswoman Elizabeth was with child (Tribe of Levi - all priests like Zechariah, probably Elizabeth, Mary potentially [kinswoman]; Tribe of Judah - Joseph), she leaves immediately to go help her despite her own needs. Mary just started her pregnancy, Elizabeth was sixth months along. This is a good example for us that even when we are in need, love is to will the good of another. Mary loved Elizabeth over her own needs, an example we can follow.
In verse 43, Elizabeth calls Mary the “mother of my Lord.” This must refer to the child Jesus in her womb, because her only other lord (transliteration: kyrios or kurios) would have been her husband Zechariah. This is one of many reasons we give Mary the title, “Mother of God.” Let us honor Jesus’ Mother as he obeys the fourth commandment (our parents are always our parents).
Andy Weiss is a 1992 graduate of Wayland’s Hawaii campus. He is a Catholic Deacon, an IT Manager for the Air Force, adjunct faculty at NMSU-A and is director and webmaster of SEAM (http://shroudnm.com).
From the History Files
When Wayland's first president, Dr. I.E. Gates, resigned in 1915, he headed to the pastorate of First Baptist Church in Plainview. Ironically, the person whose shoes he filled there filled his own shoes at Wayland. A known leader in the Southern Baptist church circles, O.L. Hailey swapped offices with Gates and began his work with dreams of making Wayland a full-fledged junior college and "a great mission center." Hailey's appreciation for education -- especially Christian education -- kept him passionate about the job, though it would only last for 10 months.
He stayed busy as a church and associational connector and a fundraiser, helping raise money to retire debt and receiving a gift from FBC Matador to complete what was then renamed Matador Hall. He loved gathering with the Wayland family, including faculty and all students, for a social time of singing and worship after dinner each night.
At the time of his resignation to return to the pastorate, the state education board had accepted Wayland as a full junior college with only additional library volumes and science lab equipment needed. There were about 200 students enrolled at the time.
Meet your Alumni Board
Since coming to Wayland in 1990, Mike Manchee has been involved as a student and stayed involved an alumnus. That's because he considers his alma mater not just a name on his diploma but a family.
"All of my teachers new me. I have lifelong friends, including some of my professors," he said, recalling incidents of that close-knit environment. "I even recall one time Dr. Almes came to my dorm room when I missed class due to illness because he was concerned. I remember Dr. Qualls inviting our class to his house to dine. You don't see that at very many universities."
Mike is wrapping up his first year as principal at Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School in Amarillo and his 13th year with the district after spending 11 years at Plainview ISD as a teacher at three different schools. He and wife Amy, MEd'02, have two daughters and a son.
Among his busy schedule, Mike has made time for service on the alumni board since
2003, noting that he loves bringing his kids on campus and meeting current students
at various alumni events.
"I enjoy learning how my university is changing and growing," he said. "Wayland shaped us into who we are. As alumni, we have the opportunity to do the same thing for the current and future students. I encourage everyone to say engaged through service, giving, saying a good word about our university to prospective students and through praying."
Give back to current students through mentorship
Thank you to everyone who signed up for the Beeline mentoring program to assist current students and other alumni in career support. If you haven't had a chance to do that, jump on board now and get started with us. Here's the link to learn more and then sign up: https://www.beeline.me/landingalumni-wayland/ We are in the process of signing up students now to receive mentorship assistance. We appreciate anything you do to help our students and fellow alumni achieve their career dreams.