How A Leader Revamps Education to Life


As an adolescent in her late teenage years in high school, Nancy Leffert was told by a college career counselor that she was not “college material.” Now with only 6 months left of her term as Antioch University President, Dr. Nancy Leffert shares the challenges and gratification she experiences as President of Antioch University.

Dr. Nancy Leffert pursues paths that have resulted in great opportunity.

She never thought she would be a leader as President at Antioch University, Santa Barbara. Dr. Nancy Leffert describes her experience as President of Antioch University as the most significant experience in her career.

    Dr. Nancy Leffert’s career includes 35 years in Social Service and Higher Education previous to when being appointed as President of Antioch University, Santa Barbara. She has been challenged time and time again and followed a  down the path of education in her career.  Nancy Leffert believes that it is worthwhile to take a risk and step outside one’s comfort zone. Dr. Leffert believes in striving for goals with great intentions. She believes in taking action towards interesting, challenging, and exciting goals.

Guy Smith who has 30 years experience in higher education, and has been appointed Assistant to  Nancy Leffert states:

 Nancy Leffert has made hard decisions, often the unpopular and difficult decisions, but always the right decisions. She navigated an extremely complicated and treacherous course to move into a beautiful downtown campus and put AUSB (Antioch University, Santa Barbara) on the road to becoming fully engaged with the community.  Her leadership has helped to launch several new programs that have provided greater breadth of offerings.

The ability to repurpose and renovate the physical space of the Antioch University as well as being able to raise funds for students attributes to an all encompassing goal and vision that Nancy Leffert conceives for Antioch University. Dr. Leffert’s vision for  Antioch University, Santa Barbara campus to reflect community and ethnic diversity in the community.

Nancy Leffert had been told and advised to not waste too much energy in hopes of receiving grants because Antioch University is such a small institution. However, Nancy Leffert was able to obtain a Career -to -College grant that prepares students for career success by securing assistance toward the process of post-graduate employment.

Latino Student Union prepares for Dia de Los Metros October, 2015.

Dr. Nancy Leffert wishes she would have more time to accomplish all the goals as President of Antioch University.However, under her term more programs have been created such as the MBA program,and the new Women and Leadership program that supports the future success of female leaders.

MBA workshop December, 2014.

Dr. Nancy Leffert is renowned as a scholar of child and adolescent development. She is well known for educational information that focuses on, “a paradigm of positive youth development that delineates factors contributing to the healthy development of children and adolescents and that is widely used and cited.” Although it has been challenging for Nancy Leffert to know that she cannot do everything she would have done, Dr. Nancy Leffert is proud of what she has done and maintains assured attitude of encouragement and empowerment.

                 Nancy Leffert’s  last day as of President of Antioch University is next summer of   June 30, 2016. Academic advisor Shara Keller describes working with Dr. Nancy Leffert: 

Inauguration Ceremony of Dr. Nancy Leffert, 2011.


You know how it is when you meet someone who is going to change your life, even before you know all of the ways this will be true? When Nancy Leffert first arrived on the AUSB campus, she was remarkable.  She had sparkle.  She had drive and enthusiasm.

 It’s been a  few years, coming to work and knowing that our campus is led by a woman who is fierce and kind and who cares about the welfare of every student, faculty member and staff-person here and whose presence in the wider community is broad-reaching.






About Author

Sujin Chon

Since arriving in Santa Barbara in 2012 from San Jose, California, Sujin has volunteered and worked at elderly care facilities and homeless shelters, and has provided service for Freedom to Choose- a local Santa Barbara non-profit. Presently, Sujin is a social media coordinator for WitMark Marketing and Branding Group. Sujin also assists in social media for the Antioch Alumni Association. She has recently completed her undergraduate studies in Communications and Social Media at Antioch University -Santa Barbara. She continues to further her education in the MBA program at Antioch University. She plans on pursuing a career in Public Relations, having become motivated to get involved using her social justice and communications background. She plans on making a difference by working for organizations that help educate and support at-risk communities. When Sujin is not at school or working, she enjoys peaceful meditation at the gym, and loves to cook for herself and loved ones, watch Basketball, and laugh.

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