Debra D. Peppers, Ph.D.

  • Dynamic Professional Speaker for over 25 years
  • Member of National Speakers Association
  • Radio and Television Talk Show Host National Teachers Hall of Fame
  • University Instructor/ Retired High School Teacher
  • From Troubled Teen to Teacher of the Year
  • 100 Pound Weight Loss
  • Author and Newspaper Columnist
  • Perfect Presenter for your next event!

If you are looking for a real “pepper upper” to ignite, challenge and inspire your group, then look no further! Dr. Peppers “sizzles” with her unique message individualized and tailor-made just for your group! Her blend of humor, powerful inspiration, enthusiasm, and unequaled energy are passed on to her audiences. They leave not only motivated and uplifted, but also with practical tools and insight to turn their own lives toward a more positive and productive path.


“From Troubled Teen to Teacher of the Year” read the headline when Debra Peppers was one of only five inducted into the National Teachers’ Hall of Fame. As a troubled teen, Debra was a 250-lb. high school dropout who could have “fallen through the cracks.” But with the love of her parents and a special teacher, “Miss Alma” (story published in Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul), her life was radically turned around. Losing over 100 pounds, receiving a BA in English, an MA in Education, and a Ph.D. in Communication, Dr. Peppers now inspires audiences all over the world. Having traveled in all 50 states and 50 countries, she loves to share her strategies for initiating change by goal setting and problem-solving. She emphasizes the importance of finding balance in our lives and offers a step-by-step plan to implement it! Dr. Peppers shares real-life success stories from her radio and TV interviews as well as from some of the 10,000 students she has taught. She addresses real life issues on her daily 3-hour radio program, aptly titled Talk From the Heart with Dr. Peppers. She also hosts a weekly television segment, Shakin' the Salt with Dr. Peppers!


Dr. Peppers’ professional and personal credibility, as well as her charismatic presentation style makes her a favorite of audiences everywhere! As a professional speaker for over 25 years, having addressed groups of 20 to 3500, Dr. Peppers has presented to audiences worldwide. From a small rural Alabama school to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, to schools in Africa – or keynoting at the Crystal Cathedral’s International Women’s Conference, Dr. Peppers is the “real thing,” ... at home wherever she is! She adapts her presentation personally for each audience, often incorporating original poems and parodies. Presentations include over 1000 business, community, and educational groups, as well as key-noting banquets and business meetings. Debra teaches workshops and faculty courses for many universities and colleges across the country, and customizes break-out sessions for any group.

A Few of Dr. Peppers' Topics

Incorporating stories of famous past "failures", this motivational presentation is three-fold: to examine and face "stumbling blocks”– even tragedies in our own lives; to determine ways and find tools to get past our past; and to use the trials of the past to help others overcome as well! Debra presents tested ideas for improvement in both our personal and professional lives. She leaves the audience with renewed hope, tools, and a plan to institute change!

This hard-hitting presentation is a "wake-up call" for each of us to make daily attitude adjustments. Learning how our physiological and intellectual responses are often dictated by our emotions, Dr. Peppers gives examples and practical tools for becoming proactive instead of reactive. Strategies for personal communication skills in dealing with even the most difficult people in the most difficult situations, leave the audience with great fuel for preventing "burn out".

In both our professional and personal lives, we waste so much time and energy trying to figure out why those around us act the way they do – and why we react accordingly! Once we realize that we all have different personality styles, we can use our individual limitations as well as our unique gifts in all situations. Debra demonstrates the importance of interpersonal communication skills and the necessity for being interdependent so we can “synergize” and work together for good. By using learned approaches to our differences, the most difficult people among us can be reached.

ADDITIONAL TOPICS (Descriptions available on request)


  • Conflict Resolution
  • Assertiveness Training
  • Positive Risk Taking
  • Lose the Weight of the World
  • Communicating with Excellence
  • Beyond Cultures
  • Leadership: It’s Not Easy at the Top
  • “Special” Needs and At-Risk Students
  • Take off the Mask and Get Real!
  • Creativity in the Workplace


Samples of Debra’s Radio and Television Guests

•President George W. Bush •V.P. and Mrs. Dick Cheney •Tipper Gore •Mary Lou Retton •US Attorney General John Ashcroft •Richard Gephardt, •Kurt Warner, Rams MVP •Pat Boone •Charlie Daniels •Columbine Students •Jim Nabors •Secretary of Education Richard Riley •Secretary of Education Rod Paige, plus hundreds of authors, recording artists, and celebrities. Her favorite segment is “Unsung Heroes” where Dr. Peppers interviews people of all ages and backgrounds who have left their mark in local communities, schools and neighborhoods.

Professional Honors, Awards, and Publications

Author of It's Your Turn Now, How I Lost 100 Pounds and Gained New Life (audio tape series), The Gift of Hope (audio tape series), features in Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul, God Allows U-Turns, High School's Best Practices, and soon to be published, A Parent's Worst Nightmare and Speak To Be Heard, member of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, State winner of the National Federation of Press Women Speech Competition, National Speakers Association Showcase Award winner, Teacher of the Year, St. Louis Hometown Hero, Outstanding Alumni Award, Presenter of Emmy Awards, International Who's Who: Professional Management, Excellence in Teaching Award, Women of Achievement Award, Kiwanis Golden Rule Award, Missouri State Resolution Honor, Bob Costas Radio feature, Recommendation for Senate Task Force, author/creator of the Emmy Award winning CHOICES, Act Your Age, Teaching With Class, Puzzles and Paradigms, and featured in The High Performing Teacher.

What people are saying

“Dr. Debra Peppers, of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, overcame setbacks to become a huge success. She now inspires others to better themselves for real life success as well.”
Bob Costas, sportscaster and television personality.

“We sincerely appreciate your highly instructive and inspiring address. We know our administrators left re-energized and excited about their important leadership roles.”
Dr. Gale Hulme, Executive Director of Professional Development, Atlanta, GA (Gwinnett)

“Dr. Peppers is living proof that all of us can overcome obstacles. We have had her back several times and I guarantee you will leave motivated and inspired!”
Dr. J.M.Galloway, Cumberland University, Lebanon, TN.



“Troubled Teen to Teacher of the Year” read a headline when Dr. Debra Peppers was inducted into the National Teachers’ Hall of Fame. This honor, bestowed upon only five nationally recognized teachers, was presented to her in Washington DC by the Secretary of Education. Speaking professionally for 28 years and receiving numerous awards, Debra has traveled to every state and 50 foreign countries.

Dr. Peppers grew up in a traditional family but at sixteen, weighing 250 pounds, she dropped out of high school, experimented with alcohol and drugs, ran away from home and could have “fallen through the cracks”. But with her parents’ love, the encouragement of a teacher, and her eventual faith, her life turned around. Having lost over 100 pounds and earning a Ph.D., Debra loves to motivate and inspire audiences all over the world. An award-winning educator of 30 years, author, university instructor, host of a weekly TV segment called “Shakin’ the Salt with Dr. Peppers”, and monthly columnist for a St. Louis newspaper are a few of her accolades. In her seventh-year as host of a daily 3-hour radio program, “Talk From the Heart”, Debra also has been featured in numerous books and publications, including Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul, Best Classroom Practices, and her own It’s Your Turn Now! As recent keynote presenter at the Crystal Cathedral’s International Women’s Conference along with Elizabeth Dole, Debra’s speech won a national award with the National Federation of Press Women. Having been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs nationwide, Dr. Peppers was recently featured in a television pilot for God Allows U-Turns, based on her biographical story featured in the book of the same name.

A member of the National Speaker’s Association with a BA in English/Speech, an MA in Education and a Ph.D. in Communication, Dr. Peppers received both the Distinguished Graduate Award and Outstanding Alumni 2000 from Webster University where she has been on the adjunct faculty for the past eight years. She resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband of 30 years.


Professional Speakers Bureau International

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