Staff spotlight: Rural challenges motivate Lori Liggett to make a difference

Small Towns

When Lori Liggett stumbled across the Center for Rural Affairs online, she was intrigued by the organization's work and purpose. She saw that the Center was hiring and knew she wanted to become part of the team.

Now, Lori is a grant writer associate with the Center and feels very much at home.

“I enjoy the grant-writing process,” she said. “I was looking for a position where I could utilize my experience and my love for rural communities, and I found it at the Center.”

Nick Bergin, development director with the Center, feels Lori is a great asset.

“Lori brings a wealth of experience and a deep-rooted commitment to rural communities, making her an invaluable addition to the Center,” he said. “Her background leading a rural Nebraska school district, coupled with her passion for improving the lives of rural Nebraskans, will enrich our efforts to support and empower rural communities across the nation."

Recently, Lori retired from her 39-year career in public education. During that time, she had the opportunity to serve as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Chadron State College, an education specialist degree from Wayne State College, and is finishing her doctorate from Doane University.

As she settles into her new role, Lori said she is certain she made the right choice in applying for the position.

“I feel like I found a hidden treasure in Nebraska,” she said. “I had no idea about all of the programs and opportunities the Center has available, and now I love telling everyone I talk to about the Center and what it does.”

A fourth-generation Nebraskan, Lori grew up on a small family farm in Box Butte County and developed a great appreciation for rural America.

“I was fortunate to grow up with three brothers on our farm,” she said. “Our parents had the four of us within five years, so we were and still are very close. Being the only girl, I learned to enjoy Nebraska football and other sports. My brothers and I are all first-generation college graduates, something our parents were very proud of, and part of the reason I went into education.”

Lori has a firm grasp on what people in rural areas deal with from day to day, and she hopes to use her position with the Center to bring about assistance to those in need.

“Having lived and worked my entire life in western Nebraska, I appreciate the values of rural America and believe in working to preserve those values,” she said. “My firsthand knowledge of people who share in the challenges facing rural Nebraska motivates me to try and make a difference.”

When she’s off work, Lori spends as much time with her family as possible and takes on new hobbies from time to time.

“Even though I live ‘way out west’ in Gordon, Nebraska, my family and I still find opportunities to get together to cheer on the Huskers or take part in other activities,” she said. “And I recently went to coffee roasting school in Seattle and have started roasting coffee in my garage.”

Reach Lori at her home office in Gordon at 308.360.1999 or