Texas A&M University Announces Parents Of The Year
Texas A&M University has named Huntsville residents Kathy ’91 and Reggie Lepley the 2021-2022 Parents of the Year.
Kathy Lepley is principal of the New Waverly Intermediate School and president of the Walker County Aggie Moms’ Club. Reggie Lepley is a county extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Every year, Texas A&M students nominate their parents and family members to represent the university as Parents of the Year. Members of Aggie Parent and Family Ambassadors (APFA), a sponsored student organization that is part of the Office of New Student & Family Programs, select the winners based on their character and embodiment of the Texas A&M core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity and selfless service.
The Lepleys said they learned about the honor during a surprise phone call from their daughter, Shelby Lepley ’21, a close family friend, and two APFA members. Shelby Lepley nominated her parents for the award. Kathy Lepley was shocked to learn of the award, while Reggie was convinced it was an April Fools’ joke.
“This is such an honor to represent the entirety of the Texas A&M family as Parents of the Year,” Kathy Lepley said. “We still cannot believe we were selected for this recognition as there are so many truly outstanding parents within the Aggie family.”
In her nomination, Shelby said her parents introduced her to Texas A&M at the age of five. Looking forward to her next experience with the many Aggie traditions drove her excitement and instilled in her the Aggie spirit.
“From standing with the 12th Man on that cold November day to attending my very first Silver Taps and Muster in remembrance, I can sincerely say that there is an awe-inspiring feeling every time I step on campus,” Shelby Lepley said. “I know without a doubt that this sensation stems from the heart of Texas A&M’s traditions and our Aggie spirit.”
The Lepleys interact with the Texas A&M community both on and off campus. In her role as president of the Walker County Aggie Moms’ Club, Kathy Lepley created a program to provide gift bags to students who could use an extra push during final exams. She said her experience as a public-school educator enables her to provide invaluable advice to students to improve their study and time-management practices.
Reggie Lepley travels extensively across the country for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to help people in their time of need after natural disasters.
Shelby Lepley described in her nomination the many ways in which her parents embody Texas A&M’s core values, but some stood out above the others.
“The most evident way that my parents exhibit the Aggie core values is through their interactions with people in the community,” she wrote. “Following their values is about more than being good Aggies; it is about being good everyday people that are accountable and helpful to those around them. My parents, through work and community involvement, are public servants in every form of the word. They demonstrate leadership, selfless service and loyalty to the community as they help with our Farm Bureau, county fair and student organizations in our local schools.”
The couple said they are looking forward to meeting and getting to know other Aggies.
“Reggie and I appreciate hearing stories from other parents about their children who are attending Texas A&M,” Kathy Lepley said. “Every student story is full of potential. It is fascinating to think how these young people we meet will influence our world in the future.”
While the newly selected Parents of the Year are usually introduced during Family Weekend, the announcement was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kathy and Reggie Lepley will officially begin their role as Texas A&M Parents of the Year in the fall.
APFA members would like to extend their gratitude to Tanya and T.J. Gillespie, the 2020-2021 Parents of the Year, for their service to the university during the past year.