Veteran inspires American College of Education teachers at Carmel commencement

By Mark Ambrogi

Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch gives a commencement speech at American College of Education graduation at the Palladium. (submitted photo)

Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch gives a commencement speech at American College of Education graduation at the Palladium. (submitted photo)

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch does everything she can to motivate teachers, because she knows how a special teacher inspired her.

Kickbusch gave the commencement address for the Indianapolis-based American College of Education at the Palladium in Carmel on July 30. ACE offers online master’s, doctorate and specialist programs, as well as a certificate program for educators and paths to new teacher licensure.

“(ACE) has a special place in my heart because it’s about giving teachers those tools by which they can connect with the students and pass on that knowledge,” said Kickbusch, a motivational speaker. “I’ve always said growing up as a daughter of (Mexican) immigrants that the most concrete form of democracy is education. The fact that they are going to achieve that goal is a celebration, not just for them but for their abilities and talents they will be able to share with the communities that they serve. This is not just about connecting at the mind but connecting at the heart, recognizing that a teacher can actually change the world.”

Kickbusch, who grew up in Laredo, Texas, and now lives in Las Vegas, retired after two decades in the military as highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the Army. She then founded Educational Achievement Services Inc., a human development company, in 1996 to help individuals of diverse backgrounds grow as leaders. Kickbusch, who turns 62 on Aug. 13, and her husband, David, took out part of their retirement savings to start the company.

“One of our blessings is to bring that message of hope to a teacher’s mindset about serving all children and looking beyond a zip code,” Kickbusch said. “I had a teacher that did that, who looked beyond where I lived and my humble beginnings and looked beyond my limited English ability and actually saw  me — a young child who wanted to learn and made a deep connection and changed the trajectory of my life.

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