Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Communication plants seed for second career

September 14, 2006

At 29, Kelle Gibbs returned to college. This time, she knew what she wanted to do.

Gibbs left a 13-year career with Kroger grocery stores to pursue studies in speech and language pathology.

Now, after two degrees and eight years of experience in her second career, she begins her first year as a speech/language pathologist for the Lansing school district.

At Kroger, Gibbs met a deaf woman who used her voice and handwriting to communicate with coworkers. She noticed that their coworkers seemed uncomfortable interacting with the woman.

Gibbs said, "It really bothered me to see that because I thought, 'What's more important than communicating?'"

That experience helped her find her new career, and she knows it was the right move.

"The job wasn't bad at the time, but I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do all my life," she said. "There's no comparison."

She provides speech and language services for preschool, kindergarten, first-grade and structured-learning students from her office at Lansing Elementary School.

She works closely with the teachers and occupational therapist to provide the services the students need.

"The best part of my job is the progress I see in the kids," she said.

Gibbs moved to Leavenworth this summer from Knoxville, Tenn. Her husband, Rob Gibbs, attends Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College and recently returned to the United States after a one-year deployment to Iraq.

"It's been great having him back," she said. "It was a hard year; it was a long year."

In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, taking walks and spending time with her family.

She is the mother of Sarah Door, 22, and Karah Dorr, 23, and grandmother to Ethen, 6.

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