Recognizing Arts Educator Deborah Bowers Kippley

Floor Speech

Date: April 18, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BACON. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I rise to recognize Deborah Bowers Kippley for her years of dedicated public service in the State of Nebraska. As an arts educator, Debbie's leadership, skills, and initiatives have benefited the minds of our youth for decades.

Debbie had a strong interest in the arts from an early age. In 1974, she graduated from Omaha Burke High School where she participated in band, orchestra, and art. She continued her education, obtaining a bachelor's degree in art education and elementary education from Hastings College.

After college, she toured with a Christian repertory theater company before being hired as an elementary arts teacher for Omaha Public Schools. During her time with OPS, Debbie participated in several Nebraska art-based programs. After 13 years with OPS, she wanted to start the elementary art program at Papillion La Vista Community Schools.

After obtaining her master of science from the University of Nebraska Omaha, she earned her doctorate in administration, curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, concentrating on the variation of people's ability to create mental images and the effect this has on learning.

As someone who struggled with math, reading, and spelling during her elementary years, Debbie believes her inability to create mental images at that age was the cause of her struggles. Her conclusion was to enhance the five senses by using art in learning in her elementary teachings to better help students learn.

For the last nearly 40 years, Debbie has consistently given back to the community. Just a few of her accolades include Elementary Educator of the Year, president-elect and president of the Nebraska Art Teachers Association, and the Nebraska Art Teachers Association Roscoe Shields Award for her continued service to art education. She also assisted with the writing and creation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money for the arts.

As a now-retired educator, Debbie continues to promote the arts by her work with the Congressional Art Competition for the Nebraska congressional districts, founded in 1998, and still manages the Papillion La Vista Arts Network, providing a theater experience for elementary and middle school students. Supervising art student teachers for the University of Nebraska Omaha is another task that she loves, and she is the president of the Papillion Downtown Business Association.

Debbie has always believed in the power of the arts to heal, encourage, and empower. This has been her mantra for all her years of educating young minds.

I salute and thank Debbie for her impression upon the community, a tremendous impact, which will be felt for many years to come.