Leadership Spotlight: Dr. Heidi M. Lambert

The Ori Learning Leadership Spotlight Series is dedicated to showcasing outstanding educational leaders who are making a positive impact in their respective districts and the education world.


Dr. Heidi M. Lambert currently serves as Director of Special Populations at Richard Milburn Academy in Texas.

Pragmatic and results-oriented, Dr. Lambert is a dynamic educational leader with a proven track record in public education. Committed to enhancing learning experiences for all students through strategic planning and innovative problem-solving, she brings a wealth of expertise in special education administration, leadership, and evaluations. 

With a robust history in developing processes and procedures, coupled with a keen eye for identifying and overhauling inefficiencies, Dr. Lambert has consistently demonstrated a commitment to improving educational outcomes.

How did you become an educational leader?

I was working closely with a campus principal on a project who recognized and spoke to a leadership ability that I had not yet seen in myself: she essentially “coached” me up and I have never looked back.

What's a lesson about leadership that you've learned or been reminded of recently?

That being present does not involve micromanaging. I am such an anti-micromanager: I tend to give the most attention to where the “fire” is. In my mind that’s a compliment to the other person, in that it shows that I trust them enough that they don’t need direct supervision. But I appreciate that for someone who values feedback and is hungry to apply that feedback, it can leave them feeling left out or not recognized.

What's one book that has had a profound impact on you as a leader? Why?

“Leadership and Self-Deception” by The Arbinger Institute. It focuses on how self-deception can hinder leadership effectiveness and provides a framework for developing a more authentic and empathetic approach to leadership. I’m a work in progress in regard to building and maintaining positive relationships in professional settings, and this book has nuggets to help with that.

So far in your career, what have you found most challenging as a leader?

Making the switch to leading in a charter school and overcoming the challenges of competing with neighboring school districts whose pay scales are greater, as well as trying to stay in the game recruiting and retaining employees.

Of all the challenges the educational world faces today, what is one area you are most passionate about and would like to make an impact in?

Post-secondary planning. My current role has enlightened me to the challenges students with disabilities may face once they graduate high school when they don’t have an actionable plan. I want to be a part of the process that facilitates students taking their next steps in life after high school. I don’t want a student with a disability at RMA [Richard Milburn Academy, where Dr. Lambert works] to walk across the graduation stage and go home without knowing what’s next for them.

What are you most proud of during your time as a leader?

Reflecting on how a few people that I have led have gone on to become leaders themselves and be successful within special education. I like to think I was a role model to them in some way.

Finally, if you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Hire up, be aware of your challenges as a leader, and surround yourself with talented individuals with varying levels of expertise.

For more articles in the Leadership Spotlight series, you can read our interview with Dr. Gwen Coffey. We discuss the role of mentorship in her journey to becoming an educational leader, the power of pivoting when faced with challenges, and the importance of educational equity.

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Stefan Kalpachev