Academic Program
Student Life
Selection Process
Important Dates
Academy Expectations
Faculty and Staff
Application Materials
Quotes About CHA
From Parents
Accepted Students

Randall Black

RANDALL BLACK, Academic Dean of the Commonwealth Honors Academy and professor of music, begins 14th year with the Academy (having served as Student Life Dean for the initial 13 years) and his twenty-eighth year of teaching voice at Murray State University. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Illinois University (Music Department's Distinguished Alumnus Award, '96-'97) and his Master and Doctor of Music degrees from Indiana University. As a professional singer, he has appeared in the United States and Europe including performances with: Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony, St. Martin-in-the-Field Church in London, the Santa Fe Opera, and as a soloist in Carnegie Hall.

Dr. Black has served on the national board (Secretary/Treasurer) for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) as well as the NATS Foundation Board, and as regional governor for the National Opera Association. He taught for twelve years as a faculty member of the Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program, and has been recognized with Teaching Awards from the Music Department (Charles and Marlene Johnson Outstanding Music Faculty Award) and Murray State University (Regents Award). He and his wife, Kim, also a music teacher, have two children.

Jeff Wylie

JEFF WYLIE, Student Life Dean, is a social worker who has been teaching in the Social Work Program at Murray State University for the past 16 years. He is also an adjunct clinical instructor for the MSW program at Western Kentucky University. Jeff has an MSW and an MDiv degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and was a therapist and administrator with Four Rivers Behavioral Health in Paducah for 8 years working with families and children specializing in parenting and behavior disorders in children. He has worked with victims of sexual assault and supervised therapists in child advocacy and sexual assault centers as well as mental health therapists in the region. Prior to his career in social work, Jeff worked for 7 years as a staff person with Young Life - a Christian outreach program to un-churched high school students in Louisville and Bowling Green, KY. With Young Life Jeff served as a high school group leader and as area director for all the Young Life clubs in the area. Jeff's wife, Jennifer, is a physical therapist and together they have 3 adult children. In addition to teaching, Jeff is involved with his church, private clinical practice, and enjoys playing the guitar and the banjo, and fly-fishing.

Lori Rogers

LORI ROGERS is the administrative assistant for the Murray State Honors Program and the primary contact for prospective CHA students. Having served in this position for 24 years, Lori enjoys building relationships with both university Honors students and the CHA students. She was recognized in 2011 by the MSU Student Government Association for her commitment to students and their success with the Jim Baurer Staff Service Award given annually to one exemplary staff member. Her favorite part of CHA is watching the students build friendships within the CHA community.

She studied history at MSU and family history through distance learning courses from Brigham Young University and continues to pursue a BIS degree in those areas. Lori's interests include American history, genealogy, and cooking. She resides in Calloway County with her husband, Mark, and has a daughter, Brittiany, a 2006 MSU graduate.


Amy Cox

AMY COX is returning for her third year as a CHA faculty member. She currently teaches chemistry at Paducah Tilghman High School (Go Big Blue!), and she has been teaching high school for 12 years. Amy has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in chemistry from Murray State University, with additional graduate work completed at the University of Tennessee. Before becoming a high school teacher, Amy worked for the Department of Energy and its subcontractors in environmental management at the Oak Ridge Reservation and at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. She also spent a year on the faculty at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Amy is married to Dr. Ricky Cox, a chemistry professor at Murray State, and they have two dogs, Lucy and Abbey. She enjoys reading and shopping, listens to all kinds of music, and naps at every opportunity!

Marvin Denison

MARVIN DENISON is Upper School Head at University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville. After graduating from Russellville (KY) High School and attending Lindsey Wilson College, Marvin received his B.S. and M.A. from Murray State University. His experience at the independent school began as a history teacher and has included 10 years as Headmaster. He now serves as college counselor and teaches AP U.S. History and AP Government and Politics. Marvin was a founding member of the Hopkinsville Madrigal Singers, sings bass with the Chancel Choir of First United Methodist Church, and has served on the boards of the Hopkinsville Community Concert Association and the Pennyroyal Arts Council. He is an active member of the Athenaeum Society of Hopkinsville. Marvin and Cathy (Knight) have two children, Erin, co-owner of Bluegrass Cheercats, and Adam, a May 2008 graduate of Murray State’s music department. During this summer and fall, Adam is performing on Royal Caribbean Cruises in the Mediterranean Sea.

Laurie Edminster

LAURIE EDMINSTER is a National Board-Certified English teacher at Murray High School. She has also taught courses for future English teachers at Murray State University. Laurie received her Bachelor and Masters degrees from Clemson University and has been teaching for twenty-three years. She has taught a variety of courses, ranging from traditional English classes to creative writing, speech communication, southern literature, and drama. Laurie has been married for twenty years and has three lovely daughters: Ashlee, Lauren, and Hannah. She enjoys singing, reading, writing poetry, and spending time with family. This is Laurie’s eleventh year working with CHA, and her favorite part of the program is getting to work with old and new friends while teaching students who possess a sincere desire to learn and grow.

Tom Glover

TOM GLOVER graduated in 1975 from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor in English and History. Upon graduation he was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an armor and JAG officer. During his service he earned a Masters in Human Resources Management from Pepperdine. In 1982 he graduated from the University of Kentucky School of Law and was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association. After a brief stint in private practice, he served as a public defender in Kentucky for 20 years, retiring in 2004 and earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Murray State University. In 2004 he became an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Murray State University, where he continues to teach and coach the Murray State Mock Trial Team.

Glenn Leckie

GLENN LECKIE received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, Masters in Education and +30 in Administration from Murray State University. Glenn began his teaching career with the Dawson Springs Independent School District where he taught Visual Art, Gifted and Talented, Social Studies and Kentucky History. When the opportunity came to move back to Murray, Glenn took the Visual Art position for Calloway County High School. During this time, his other duties included Yearbook Sponsor, Extended School Program Coordinator and Resource Teacher for the Kentucky Internship Program. Not long after relocation in Murray, Glenn was asked to become an adjunct with the MSU Art Department, where he taught Art Materials and Techniques for the Classroom Teacher, Introduction to Drawing, Life Drawing, and Art Appreciation.


Melanie McCallon

MELANIE McCALLON is a promising interculturalist who has built the study abroad operation at Murray State University as Associate Director for Education Abroad to make MSU a study abroad leader in Kentucky. Melanie earned a Bachelor in English and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She taught English as a foreign language in Japan and ESL at MSU and, when she is lucky enough, gets to teach Humanities and Gender Studies courses at MSU. She has led hundreds of students to cultural exploration across the globe and brought all of them back alive. Melanie serves on the Boards of study abroad consortia CCSA and KIIS, is a member of the Trainer Corps for the Association of International Educators, and Chair-Elect of the Kentucky Council on Education Abroad. Her book Faculty-Led 360: Guide to Successful Study Abroad helped set the standard for faculty training in study abroad, resulting in invitations to deliver faculty training and staff workshops for universities across the U.S. She is often consulted for standards in faculty training and was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s series ‘Innovators in Internationalization’ for faculty preparation at MSU. Current endeavors include supporting the best study abroad staff in the nation in whatever wild dreams they come up with and basking in the still-cool life of mom to an eight-year old.


John Muenzberg

JOHN MUENZBERG is a Lecturer of English and Philosophy at Murray State University. John teaches various Philosophy courses along with Murray State’s core course in Humanities. At Marquette University he helped develop a logic and critical thinking curriculum based on library and information literacy. At Winona State University John enjoyed working in the interdisciplinary War, Peace and Terrorism minor. John has recently presented two papers, “What Duties do we owe Corporations?” and “A Critique of Historical Theories of Pre-Greek Science.” His current professional development concerns developing online strategies for teaching Humanities, and teaching Philosophy through literature. A recent transplant from Wisconsin, John still does not like the summer heat.

Danielle Nielsen

DANIELLE NIELSEN, Instructor of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Fine Arts, is an Assistant Professor of English at Murray State University. Danielle holds a PhD in English with an emphasis in Writing History and Theory from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. Her research interests include colonial rhetoric and discourse and Victorian and Edwardian British Literature. At Murray State, Danielle teaches Introduction to English Literature, Critical Reading, Writing, and Inquiry, Advanced Composition, and advanced professional writing courses such as Writing for the Web and Advanced Technical Writing and Editing.

Taufiq Rashid

TAUFIQ RASHID hails originally from Pakistan and Bangladesh, but he is currently on the History faculty at Murray State, where he teaches World Civilizations and Western Tradition courses and is the coordinator of the university Humanities program. He received a B.S. in Economics from the University of Kentucky and a M.A. in Political Science at Indiana University, where he also pursued doctoral studies in International Political Economy.

Jason Esau

JASON ESAU is a sophomore at Murray State studying organizational communication and is from Murray, KY. He is a member of the MSU Honors Program, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and is the current president of the Student United Way of Murray State, a new campus organization starting in the fall. In addition to his on-campus duties with the United Way, Jason is also an intern at the United Way of Murray-Calloway County. Jason is looking forward to serving for the first time as a residential counselor!


Megan Heller

MEGAN HELLER is a senior studying English education with the aspiration to teach American literature and creative writing in high schools. Her current campus involvement includes the following: the Honors Program Student Council, All Campus Sing, National Resident Hall Honorary, First Year Leader, as well as math tutoring. She enjoys photography, music, reading, cooking, baking, and painting. Megan is extremely pumped to experience CHA with everyone this summer!

Michael E. Martin

MICHAEL E. MARTIN is from St. Louis, MO and a recent graduate of Murray State University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He enjoys singing, dancing, and acting. As a music major at Murray State, he was a member of the Concert Choir and the music director of the Murray-based a cappella group, &lquo;The Suspensions&rquo;. Michael is also a member of the Music Fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He has performed in many shows at Murray State. Some of his favorites have been: &lquo;Into the Woods,&rquo; &lquo;The Music Man,&rquo; and &lquo;Beauty & the Beast.&rquo; Michael has also had the opportunity to perform professionally at Six Flags St. Louis during the summers of 2009 and 2010. Academically, Michael is a Marvin D. Mills Scholar. In the Fall, Michael will be attending Oklahoma City University in the pursuit of a Masters of Music in Musical Theatre degree. Michael loves meeting new people and having a good time! He is very excited for his second summer at CHA!


Molly Nimmo

MOLLY NIMMO is a vocal music education major at Murray State. She has been a Resident Advisor for Hart Residential College for the past two years and will be the new College Head Assistant in the fall. During her time at MSU, Molly has been an active member of Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity, participated in Campus Lights and All Campus Sing, and performed in the Concert Choir and Chamber Choir. She is very excited to be a resident counselor this summer!


Sierra Sauer

SIERRA SAUER is currently a vocal music education major at Murray State University and studies under the direction of Dr. Tana Field. She is a member of the Murray State University Concert Choir as well as the Murray State University Chamber Choir. Sierra participates in campus activities such as Springer-Franklin events, Residential College Council, and All-Campus Sing. She is a member of the Collegiate National Association for Music Education (CNAfME) as well as a participant of the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) Sierra supports charities, as well as the community, by donating her time and efforts to organizations such as local animal shelters, assisted living facilities, and the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots foundation. After she completes her degree, Sierra hopes to continue to give back to the community by becoming an elementary or middle school music educator in an inner city or working with children who have fewer opportunities to participate in fine arts programs.



Contact Information
: 304 Lowry Center / Murray State University / Murray, KY 42071-3318 / 1-270-809-3166 / lrogers@murraystate.edu
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