I'm Lee Ann Nutt
Just a girl from a small town in the Texas panhandle whose calling is to help others live their best lives.
You may know me as president of a community college (Lone Star College - Tomball), author of a book (learn more here) or blog (read more here), a speaker or a teacher, Mom to two beautiful children, wife to the hunk with the beard, or even as your friend. These are just a few of the titles I proudly wear.
Regardless of how you know me, you should also know I was born and raised in the middle of the Texas Panhandle—which had a tremendous influence on who I am today. Borger, a small town 49 miles due north of Amarillo, is my birthplace. Some of my fondest memories are of spending time with my grandfather, Lee D. Williams (after whom I am named), in his corner pharmacy. I loved watching him work, and I later came to appreciate him as my hero and model of the power of resilience and determination.
Lee D., or Poppy to me, grew up in abject poverty on cotton farms in Oklahoma. He was a World War II Army veteran who suffered a major brain injury (from a Jeep accident—not from battle). Yet, he was still required to learn basic skills again—such as how to walk, talk and feed himself. Poppy fully rehabilitated then enrolled himself in the University of Oklahoma on the GI Bill—without family support or encouragement. He was the first in our family to pursue and achieve a higher education.
After securing his license as a Pharmacist he moved to the Texas Panhandle, where he established himself as a successful business man and a highly respected community leader. I am proud to be his namesake.
Because of my Poppy, I always knew I would go to college. It was "the thing to do." In my early teen years, though, I experienced life-altering family adversity. The experience of loss and upheaval taught me to be self-reliant (sometimes to a fault), responsible (sometimes to a fault), and hard working. The experience, and Poppy’s example, also led me to believe strongly in the benefits an education could provide. Going to college became much more important. It became my "out."
Though I never doubted I would go to college and finish a bachelor’s degree, I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up. My future career was never clear to me. Fortunately, destiny has a way of finding you.
While searching for a job after college, I answered a classified ad in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal for Assistant to the Registrar at South Plains College-Lubbock. I applied in person and got an interview on the spot. I thought the interview went well even though I knew very little about community colleges, and I didn't know what a Registrar was! When I was told I didn’t get that job, I was asked to apply for the Assistant to the Dean of Instruction position. I did so even though I only had a vague idea of what assistance a Dean would need. It was a terrible interview, but I got the job prepared only with experience as a waitress, resident assistant, toy store clerk, US post office casual laborer, and a tour bus driver. They saw something in me I didn't yet believe…potential.
It only took a few weeks in my new role as Assistant to the Dean to experience something for the first time. I began to see a future career. I was exposed to all facets of community college leadership, and I loved it. I loved the mission of the community college. People began to tell me I was good at the job. I began to believe in myself as someone who could make a difference through community college leadership. Perhaps destiny knew what it was doing all along.
Destiny also knew what it was doing when Jim Nutt showed up one night in 1987. From the first time we met, he saw something in me I didn’t yet see in myself. Where I saw an ugly duckling, he saw a swan. He has been my greatest supporter for over 30 years.
Jim and I met at Texas Tech University in June 1987 at basketball camp. I was working the 6 pm - midnight shift in the office at a resident hall where campers were staying. He was working the camp as a graduate assistant coach and had to sleep in the resident hall. The first night, he approached the office where I was studying accounting, and he just said hello. The second night, we talked until 4 am, and we have been together since.
Jim is 8-years older than I am. When we met, he was pursuing a Master of Education degree in Educational Psychology, and I was taking courses between my sophomore and junior years as an undergraduate. We spent my senior year apart. After finishing his masters, Jim took a job coaching women's basketball at St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas.
Jim and I married in Abilene, Texas (his hometown) on May 20, 1989. We chose this date because it was the weekend after I graduated from Texas Tech with my Bachelor’s Degree. I promised myself I would not get married until I finished college. Fourteen wonderful years later, our first born, Michael Lee, arrived on January 10, 2004. Rachel Ann was born two and a half years later, on August 19, 2006.
I wear many hats — Mom hat, wife hat, the career hat. It’s made for a pretty nutty life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like to think I’m living up to Poppy’s legacy.
Nutt in the community
Learn More About Lee Ann
If you're looking for other ways to get to know Lee Ann, there are a few options to choose from.
kind words from Community Leaders
"Dr. Lee Ann Nutt's inspirational leadership has elevated Lone Star College to new heights that positively impact the entire Tomball community. Her passion and dedication has created a culture of academic excellence and achievement that benefits students and the community."
- Kelly Violette
CEcD | PCED | AICP | Executive Director | Tomball Economic Development Corporation
"Many words come to mind when I think of Dr. Lee Ann Nutt: Passionate, Intelligent, Compassionate, Professional, Visionary, Motivator, Advocate. But the best word I would use to describe her is Friend. Dr. Nutt is such a good friend to all of us in the community she gives tireless to. I am proud to have her serve on our hospital board where she is an advocate for the community. I highly recommend Dr. Nutt as a speaker and consultant for your business."
- Eric Evans
Chief Executive Officer | HCA Houston Healthcare-Tomball
“Dr. Lee Ann Nutt is not just an academic, but a practitioner who puts her ideas into action, while working with others to make a positive impact! Our community is a better place because of Lee Ann’s grit, determination, and optimism. I am truly thankful for the partnership we have with Lee Ann!”
- Rob Hauck
City Manager | City of Tomball
"Dr. Lee Ann Nutt engaged herself into all that is Tomball upon arriving here in 2011, sharing her special blend of love and care, authenticity and wisdom with everyone she encountered. We are extremely blessed and grateful for the time and dedication she has graciously provided not only to our higher education system but as a Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce board member for three years and as an active partner in the Tomball area through her church and many civic and charity organizations. Dr. Nutt is a true champion of servant leadership, a pillar of society in and around Tomball, and an encourager extraordinaire!"
- Bruce Hillegeist
President | Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce