Through teaching and learning, Heflebower strives to make an impact

Dr. Tammy Heflebower’s interest in teaching was sparked at a young age. She started her career in a traditional classroom but now runs Inspire Consulting, a company specializing in organizational and educational leadership and team building. The 1990 Hastings College elementary education graduate is a professional speaker and author who teaches others to be better educators.

Tammy Heflebower standing
Tammy Heflebower, a 1990 Hastings College graduate, now operates Inspire Consulting, a company specializing in organizational and educational leadership and team building.

Heflebower’s job has taken her around the world, from Canada to Europe to Australia. Her interest in traveling and helping others from all areas of the world started during a J-term class at Hastings College in her junior year, she took a multicultural education class that included traveling to urban areas.

Being from a small Nebraska town, everyone she knew looked like her. Getting to experience people from different backgrounds opened Heflebower’s eyes to cultural differences.

“I want to fight for the underprivileged kids, the underdogs,” she said.

Heflebower had always known she would end up in a service-oriented profession because she wanted to help others and make a difference. She had some great teachers along the way and realized what a difference a great teacher can make. “I’m an educator at heart; I’m a learner and a teacher. In education, you have to keep growing and learning,” she said.

After undergrad, Heflebower worked a full-time job as a teacher, raised two children and worked on her master’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She lived in Columbus, Nebraska, and made the commute on weeknights. She joked that this was before the internet existed, so it wasn’t easy. She then received her doctorate of education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since then, Heflebower has transitioned from teacher to building leader, district leader, professional developer and ultimately to her current career as an author and public speaker.

Heflebower left Hastings College almost 30 years ago and has been many places in her career. She is still motivated to keep pursuing her career because as a teacher she keeps striving for impact — she always wants to reach one more kid and change one more life.

“I am second. I always have to realize that no matter how well I do, I will always have other ways to impact more people. I always have to think of what else I can do,” she said.

By Courtney Hanson, a sophomore from Brookings, South Dakota, majoring in communication studies and philosophy.

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