Students & Alumni
Tammy Reichelt | Director of Professional Development and Student Success Strategies, American Association of Community Colleges
When Tammy Reichelt’s (SCC ‘99) position was eliminated after the company where she worked was sold in 1997, she had a decision to make: find another job working nights and weekends or start over and learn a new career.
“I had just turned 30 and this was my chance to make a change,” Tammy remembers. “So I decided to go to college.”
Thanks to a dislocated worker retraining program, she enrolled in SCC’s Office Administration program.
Once she met everyone at SCC, her whole world opened up. And after interning in the president’s office and in the student services offices, she knew she found her calling.
“I was a first-generation student and I just loved my time at SCC,” Tammy continues. “It was like family.”
She earned her AAS in Office Administration as well as her AA transfer degree and was immediately encouraged to apply for a part-time job at SCC.
Soon afterward, she found herself attending WIU in Macomb where she went on to earn a BA degree – keeping her SCC job along the way.
“I really love working with students,” says Tammy. “If it wasn’t for SCC, I’d still be working nights and weekends trying to make ends meet. Helping other first generation students taking their one shot at college is so satisfying because I was there and know what it’s like.”
Each step along her newfound path, more doors opened, leading to more opportunities at other colleges… which required more degrees.
“People saw more in me than I saw in myself and that helped me build confidence and a network of connections that would get me to the next level.”
She would eventually earn her doctorate degree in Philosophy – Educational Leadership from Iowa State University in 2015.
17 years after that fateful decision in 1997, she found herself at the hub of community colleges: working for the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, DC.
As director of professional development and student success strategies, Tammy spearheads developing the next generation of community college leaders. She works directly with college presidents as well as federal officials and legislators as they tackle big issues involving funding, facilities, strategic planning, and new educational initiatives.
In 2019, she helped start a faculty advisory group to get more college faculty involved in decision-making at the national level, incorporating campus initiatives outside of their discipline to develop skills and experiences to become effective leaders.
“My role puts me right in the mix with community college leaders and I’m able to bring the student perspective to the conversation.”
While she loves working to better serve community college students, her favorite perk of living in our nation’s capital is her walks with her dog, Jarno.
“We get to see our national treasures every day – the White House, the Capitol, the Smithsonian – and that’s just the first mile.”