About Us - Debra Shrout


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Debra Shrout





Leading people and organizations through reform efforts and growth agendas has been Debra’s hallmark over the last 35 years. She has formed Avvantt Partners LLC with the goal of assisting communities and institutions with making positive public policy changes and to improve their position in the community whether it be a transit agency, university, business or not-for-profit.

Debra worked with six cities in Ohio on building a transportation campaign based on their local needs hosted by Transportation for America.  In Indianapolis, she created and presented a workshop on building support for Marion and Hamilton County's transit initiative in 2015. Debra created and worked for Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions to score a victory at the ballot box in August, 2014 with a state-wide grassroots, low-budget, social media driven campaign. Debra spent two years working on a transit education program for Jackson County, Missouri for their regional rail initiative.  From stakeholders to public outreach to champions, Debra worked on building a grassroots coalition of supporters, training a speakers bureau, leading focus groups, developing a media campaign, and forming a transit education committee. 

Debra worked on the Missouri State Rail plan, developed and lead a conference for the Conservation Law Foundation - Boston, consulted on plans for a future transit funding campaign for Transit for Livable Communities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and assisted the Fort Worth Transportation Authority on next step plans in 2012.

In 2013 Debra continued to work on the transit education program in Jackson County, as well as designing a transit education plan in Georgia.  Two study projects were in the mix of work this year - one involved deconstructing the defeat of a transit measure and the second focused on research for a future transit initiative. Debra presented at CFTE Transit Initiatives Conference in Atlanta and Metro Detroit Transit Workshop along with attending RailVolution in Seattle and Self-Help Communities in San Diego.

Debra has also led and worked on reform efforts in education for 35 years. From Truman State University to Columbia College to Kirkwood School District, Debra has led groups to successful completion of goals ranging from school reform to accreditation to expansion. Debra’s experiences include chairing the School Improvement Committee, chair of North Central Accreditation, facilitator of Magnet Desegregation Program, chair of English Department, and director of an adult-learning institution. Her successes include the recent growth at Columbia College – St. Louis where enrollments have jumped 90% in four years, where national standardized test scores in business have moved the campus from the bottom of rankings to unprecedented scores in the 90 and 95th percentiles, and where new programs and facilities occur each year.

Additionally Debra has taught communication skills – written and verbal – for three plus decades at the collegiate level, secondary education, and adult learner venue as well as in professional work environments. The components of success include strong communication skills – interpersonal skills from one-on-one to mass audiences, listening skills which has become the number one skill lacking in recent graduates moving into the workforce, speaking performance, and written proficiency. With strong communication skills in place, consensus building, team initiatives, and successful implementation occurs. Debra’s communication background has contributed to the success of many reform efforts.Debra was director of the year in 2010 and teacher of the year in 2004. She was also named Outstanding Communications Alumnae at Truman State University.

Debra is a graduate of Truman State University holding a bachelor of science in education degree with certification in speech, drama, English and journalism, a Master of Arts degree in Secondary School Administration, and an Education Specialist degree in School Administration. Debra taught for 31 years at Kirkwood High School, Truman State University , and Kirksville Senior High. Debra also had administrative responsibilities at Kirkwood and Truman. Debra was the Director of Columbia College – St. Louis campus from 2006 to 2011.

Debra resides in downtown Los Angeles with her husband Tom.