Alumna Heather Crump ’10 recently joined the United Way of the Plains team as community impact manager for education.
In this role, Crump works with both funded and non-funded local partners in the areas of kindergarten readiness, grade achievement, and college and career readiness, all while helping address educational gaps in the community.
Even as a young child, Crump knew she wanted a career that would allow her to make a positive impact on those around her. As she grew older, she realized education was her calling.
“I struggled with a reading disability when I was in school and wanted to show students that they were smart and capable even when classwork is difficult for them,” Crump explained. “If I could learn and become a teacher, they could accomplish their goals as well.”
When it came time to pursue her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Newman University stood out to Crump because she was a young mother and the university offered night classes that allowed her to attend school at night.
“Without this option, I would not have been able to attend college for the career of my choice,” Crump said. “When I enrolled, I had a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old and had to work during the day in order to support them. Newman made college and supporting my family a possibility.”
After graduating in 2010, Crump joined Wichita Public Schools and taught third grade for six years and special education for four years.
“I eventually left teaching to become the community impact manager for education with United Way of the Plains,” she said.
Crump, who also holds a Master of Science in high-incidence special education from Fort Hays State University, shared that still today, she feels the impact of her Newman professors. Joan Purkey and Karen Rogers in particular profoundly impacted her education.
“They had real classroom experience and were able to merge educational theory with real-world teaching,” Crump said. “They were caring and compassionate while giving me the tools and experience I needed to be successful.”
Looking to the future, Crump isn’t entirely sure what her path will look like, but “whatever I am doing, I will be doing it with a servant’s heart in an effort to positively impact others.”
She added, “Ideally, I would like to help find a solution to the childcare crisis in our community and advocate for more early childhood education funding. Education starts at birth, not 5 years old, and I would like public funding to make sure all children get a good start to their educational career.”
Explore education degrees at Newman University
Find the full list of education degrees in the form of bachelor’s, concentrations and master’s degrees.