Wayland honors alumnus with distinguished award at graduation

WICHITA FALLS – Wayland Baptist University’s Alumni Association honored two alumni of the Wichita Falls campus during Friday’s commencement ceremony held at Faith Baptist Church.

Carrie Richardson, executive chef for Chartwells K12, was honored as the 2021 Distinguished Alumni award winner for the campus. Richardson earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Wayland in 2019 after serving four years in the U.S. Navy and completing the Texas Culinary Academy. She had worked in various food service settings before taking what she called a “leap of faith” to join the staff at Chartwells, the child nutrition provider for Wichita Falls ISD.

In her current role, Richardson has developed several unique programs, including a supper program to feed students after school, securing new kitchen equipment for schools across the district, hosting “Student Choice” events in which students choose what’s on their menu, and helping students explore new foods through the “Discovery Kitchen” program. In 2020, Carrie was one of five chefs in the nation nominated and ultimately awarded recognition as a “Hero Behind the Food” for Chartwells K12 in light of her leadership in response to the pandemic.

When schools closed in March 2020, Carrie and her team worked diligently to ensure the student community was fed through the schools and by partnering with the local school bus provider to drop off meals in at-risk neighborhoods. During the uncertain early months of the pandemic, her team provided more than 600,000 meals to WFISD students, providing much needed peace of mind to local families. Richardson says her favorite thing about working in child nutrition is being able to impact the community through food. She added that the continued education and invaluable skills she acquired at WBU have enabled her to thrive in her career and quite literally feed the future of her community.

Since ceremonies in 2020 were cancelled and the alumni association was unable to present their award for that year, alumni director Teresa Young also recognized Lori Apple, principal at Haynes Northwest Academy in Wichita Falls.

Apple spent 10 years as a radiologic technologist before leaving to finally to pursue her calling in education. She is in her 17th year in education, earning her post-baccalaureate teaching certification from Midwestern State in 2003 and starting as a special education teacher at Fowler Elementary, where she and her daughters also attended. She also taught third grade for seven years. 

She moved into administration at Fowler in 2014 after earning her master’s degree in education from Wayland’s Wichita Falls campus in 2013. She moved in 2015 to the role of assistant principal at Burgess Elementary, charged with helping the school raise its low test scores.

Her hard work in turning around the school earned her the title of Region Nine Assistant Principal of the Year for 2018. She was then asked to take over as interim administrator at Haynes Academy in mid-year. She was named the principal later that year. In 2019, Lori and her staff were honored as a Capturing Kids Hearts National Showcase School for showing measurable improvement in attendance, academic performance, discipline referrals, and a positive change in school culture. Her educational philosophy is that, "Every child deserves the opportunity to have a great education from qualified and effective teachers that are held to a high standard."

“We are constantly amazed at the caliber of amazing people that have called Wayland home along their educational journey, and both Carrie and Lori are excellent examples,” said Young. “Both of these ladies are making a great impact on the lives of young people in their community, and we are so glad to honor both of them.”

Wayland’s Alumni Association honors one graduate from each campus during the calendar year, then presents an Alumnus of the Year award from among honorees during the spring Homecoming celebration. For more information on our awards program, visit www.wbualumni.com.