2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Millard School Board

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3. The candidates in this nonpartisan race are David Anderson, Stacy Jolley, Mike Kennedy and Dulce Sherman.

You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

Voters’ Guide: Douglas County West Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Douglas County West Board of Education

Kelly Hinrichs (R):  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr. (NP):  Education: BS — Northwest Missouri State University (2000),  MS — Clarkson College (2008),  MBA — University of Colorado (2020).  Volunteer experience: Board President — DC West Youth Sports,  Gretna Volunteer Fire Department — Assistant Chief (past)

Patrick McCarville (D):  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson (R):  No response received.

Amanda Wright (D):  No response received.

Douglas County West Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  I believe that the work the current board has undertaken in the past has laid ground work to further improve the community and the education our youth receive. They keep professional development opportunities for the staff at the forefront to assure the students of the best instruction possible. I would continue to strengthen both of these initiatives.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  DC West has already taken steps to be on the leading edge of technology for our students in the rapidly changing world of education and have received national attention for their success with robotics and the STEM programs offered to the youth. The district needs to maintain this momentum.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  Safety should be a priority, not only from a external perspective but also from an internal perspective.  Every student, staff member and support personnel  should feel safe coming to school. Programs to promote kindness/inclusiveness should continue and the relationship between DC West, the Valley Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriffs Office should be strengthened.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

Voters’ Guide: Millard School Board

The MPS Board of Education creates policies and rules and helps the district implement our Strategic Plan.  This site includes current and archived board agendas, audio recordings of board meetings, upcoming schedule of meetings and policies & rules.  — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Millard Board of Education

David M. Anderson (R):  Web Site: http://Facebook Page  “Dave Anderson for Millard School Board”.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard Schools Board of Education 2007 – Current.  Past Public Office, dates held: None. Education: MBA – University of Arizona BSBA – University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Board of Directors service with: Millard Board of Education, Millard Schools Foundation, Nebraska Association of School Boards, Omaha Childrens Museum, Goodwill Industries, Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Omaha Chamber of Commerce Small Business

Stacy Jolley (D):  Web Site: http://www.stacyjolley.com/.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard Public Schools Board of Education, Feb 2018 – present.  Past Public Office, dates held: n/a.  Education: University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration;  Marketing major; Communications and Psychology minors;  Study abroad at Oxford University – Economics.  Military experience: n/a.  Volunteer experience: Weekly volunteer for MPS for 14 years.  MPS Foundation Pres., classroom volunteer, PTO Pres., District Cmtes, etc., Girl Scout Leader, Asst Cubmaster, YMCA bball coach, Harvey Oaks HOA Membership chair, FRIENDS/Stuttering conference organizer, etc.

Mike Kennedy (R):  Web Site: http://parentsformikekennedy.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard School Board 2003 to Present, City of Omaha Library Board 2015 to Present, City of Omaha Omaha Naming Committee 2014 to Present.  Past Public Office, dates held: Metro Community College Board, 1999 to 2002, Omaha Charter Review Committee 2014.  Education: University of Nebraska at Omaha Bachelors of Science Political Science, Creighton University School of Law Juris Doctorate.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Boy Scouts of America, Millard Public Schools, Various local charities.

Dulce Sherman  (D):  http://www.Sherman4MPSBoard.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Not currently.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Graduate Certificate Program, Organization Development, Fielding Graduate Institute, Master of Arts degree, Management, Bellevue University, Bachelor of Science degree, Human Resources Management, Bellevue University.  Military experience: Not applicable.  Volunteer experience: Latino Center of the Midlands Board,  Women’s Fund Circles, Millard Foundation Board,  2018 Women’s Center for Advancement Honoree, Latinx Caucus Chair & Executive Board, NDP, Latino Rep & Executive Board, Douglas County, Healthcare Sector Board.

Millard Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

David M. Anderson:  I have served for 12 years up to this point.  I hope to utilize only a small portion of the levy override authority given to the board of education in the latest levy override election recently passed by Millard voters, while being able to maintain current diverse curriculum offerings.  I also hope to continue to grow community collaborations with other organizations who are in-line and can help support the mission of Millard Schools.  A example of this would be the opening of Boys/Girls Club.

Stacy Jolley:  We need to maximize every dollar in our budget in light of another $2M+ shortfall from the state. With this being a yearly event, we need to examine every program to make sure it passes a cost/benefit analysis. We have to preserve the amazing opportunities in our district while being mindful of our taxpayers’ needs. I also want to work on getting more parents into our middle schools. Increased parent engagement at that level will translate into higher scores and student engagement.

Mike Kennedy:  I have served on the Millard School Board for the past 16 years.  If reelected, I would like to continue to work on the district’s finances and improve our programs the make sure our children are college and/or career ready. The Board of Education has been a good steward of the district’s finances and we have improved our children’s test scores.  My experience on the Board of Education will help us in achieving these goals during the next 4 years.

Dulce Sherman:  I will host “town hall” discussions with all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, unions, board, PTO) to introduce myself, create two-way dialogue and listen to their feedback.  I will discuss and begin building a new creative funding strategy.  We have relied too much on our property taxes. With the changing demographics, it’s time we come up with new ideas, build partnerships with our legislature, and community to keep all funding in our public schools.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

David M. Anderson:  Technology is a tool for instruction and not the end all.  Technology allows for a cost efficient and effective way to teach curriculum and track educational outcomes.  Technology is used in all aspects of running the Millard Public schools and our students have embraced it throughout the experience in Millard.

Stacy Jolley:  Putting devices in kids’ hands is not the end, it’s the means. For kids w/o access to tech, this helps level the playing field and sends the learning home. Using district-provided devices, students take MAP tests 3x/year. With instant scores, teachers can address kids’ knowledge gaps in real time. New software creates an individualized lesson based on MAP scores, which allows every kid to get exactly what they need. It keeps kids from slipping through the cracks with gaps in their learning.

Mike Kennedy:  During my tenure on the Millard School Board we have dramatically improved our students access to technology and its use in our classrooms. Our “One to One” computer program has been successfully implemented at the Middle and High School level and we will now tackle the issue in the elementary schools.  All of our children has access to current technology and our curriculum has been adapted to reap the benefits that technology offers our students. Our teachers really do a great job.

Dulce Sherman:  Technology plays an important role in “access to education”.  However, we need to provide internet access to all students.   Social media is playing a bigger role in ease of communication.  We rely too much on social media at times by replacing the face to face communication.  Some student households may not have access to the internet, social media or a cell phone.  Therefore, we need to ensure all students are receiving the necessary communication.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ENSURE SAFETY OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS IN OUR SCHOOLS?

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

David M. Anderson:  Millard has focused and expended significant resources to address safety in our schools over the past 5 years. We have made significant improvements for safety thru physical and technology security measures.  We have worked in conjunction with law enforcement on all school building plans and have been through a variety of audits and reviews around those plans.  We have been commended and recognized as a leader around safety planning for schools.

Stacy Jolley:  We must focus on the social/emotional needs of our students. Years ago, kids came to school with fewer worries, less stress, and fewer adverse life events. In today’s world, many of our students struggle with anxiety, depression, and life upheaval. What used to be assumed, now must be taught. Teaching kindness, respect, and personal responsibility will go a long way toward making our schools safer, happier, and more productive. We have secure buildings; we must focus on reaching kids’ hearts.

Mike Kennedy:  Since the shooting at Millard South, our community and the Board of Education has made a strong commitment to school safety.  As a member of the school board, I supported and campaigned for the upgrades at our buildings to make our schools safer.  These included securing our entrances, adding cameras, adding doors to open classrooms and making sure our staff is properly trained in safety protocols. I will work to continue to review our safety plan and update it as necessary.

Dulce Sherman:  Early adolescent assessment would help us understand what is happening in a child’s life.  It may help identify children at risk and the ability to “proactively” intervene with the necessary Community Resources if the School is unable to provide the necessary resources like counseling.  However, keeping a pulse of student’s morale is important.  As a Human Resources leader, I am accustomed to holding organizational discussions to understand the pulse and creating remedies to address concerns.

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

David M. Anderson: I am not a proponent of Charter schools.  We have great private schools in Nebraska already thru religious affiliations.  I am a strong advocate for public education and do not want to see monies re-distributed away from public schools.  We are lucky in Nebraska as we have great public schools districts.  In Omaha, families can not make a bad decision as to where to send their children to a public school.  The research is mixed as to the effect of charter schools.  I do not believe we need them.

Stacy Jolley:  No tax dollars should be spent on charter schools. It is the government’s responsibility to educate ALL children. By extension, it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to educate ALL children. Therefore, no tax dollars should be spent on any school that can turn children away due to ability. Charter schools siphon off money meant for all and channel it to the chosen few. No tax dollars should be spent enriching a for-profit school. Data shows they don’t do better and they rob others of funding.

Mike Kennedy:  I am not a supporter of independent charter schools.  I believe school districts have the ability to create programs of excellence like we have in Millard.  If there are issues with a school district’s quality, it is up to the State of Nebraska and the community members to improve their schools.  Using the word “charter” in a school does not guarantee that a school will provide a quality education.

Dulce Sherman:  I believe we need to keep an open mind to new ideas.  Charter schools is one idea that has had some success in other States.  Nebraska doesn’t have any laws in place to govern Charter Schools.  Therefore, I do not support Charter schools.  I believe in keeping all funding in our Public Schools.

Voters’ Guide: Omaha Public Schools Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 2

Marlon Brewer (D):  No response received.

Marque A. Snow (D):  http://snowforops.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Omaha Public Schools Board of Education 2013-Present  President- Omaha Public Schools Board of Education January 2018 – Present.      Past Public Office, dates held: Vice President- Omaha Public Schools Board of Education February 2017 – December 2017. Education: University of South Dakota -Political Science & History.  Volunteer experience: The 100 Black Men of Omaha – Mentoring Reach & Rise Mentoring – Mentoring

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 2, Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Marlon Brewer:  No response received.

Marque A. Snow: If re-elected, I will continue to work on our retirement pension plan to find a solution within the first year. I also plan to expand our dual language program in OPS to North Omaha and re-align the OPS Strategic Plan to help guide our new Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Marlon Brewer:  No response received.

Marque A. Snow: Schools are currently using technology to increase better equity as well as educating students on how to use these tools safely and efficiency to compete in the global society. Two years ago, my colleagues and I created our first K-12 virtual school to meet the needs of our students outside of the classroom.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Marlon Brewer:  No response received.

Marque A. Snow: In 2014, my colleagues and I put up a $421 million bond to increase the safety of our students and faculty. The community voted 2-1 for the 2014 bond to put in storm shelters, upgrade security measures, as well as fire and life safety mechanisms. In March of 2018, my colleagues and I voted to put another bond for $410 million to reduce the number of portables and deal with our capacity issue at many of our schools. I continue to work with my colleagues from various districts on best practices.

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 4

Shavonna Holman (D):  http://holmanforops.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Omaha Public Schools Board of Education, Subdistrict 4 January 2018-current.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: BS in Education, University of Nebraska-Omaha MS in Education, University of Nebraska-Omaha  MS in Educational Administration, University of Nebraska-Omaha Doctorate of Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Open Door Mission Salvation Army.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Shavonna Holman:  1. Recruitment and retention of teachers /administrators.  2. Increased efforts in providing alternative education programming/opportunities for the underachieving, high ability learner.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Shavonna Holman:  When current, quality technology is available, all students are provided an equitable learning opportunity, as long as teachers have been properly trained to use and implement such technology. Technology can be the one thing which circumvents all barriers, shrinking equity and accessibility gaps, while transforming learning. It can personalized to meet the needs of today’s K-12 diverse learner. It can be used to reach and teach students virtually, who may not be physically able to attend class.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Shavonna Holman:  A district safety/crisis plan should be followed and practiced consistently so that if an emergency were to arise, both students and staff are fully prepared to follow the protocols in place as is they were second nature. Moreover, all schools should either have a district security guard or SRO who are trained to handle such emergencies. All buildings should be secured with having only one entry access point for visitors, who can be seen by the secretary prior to buzzer entrance.

Candidates for Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 6

Jeff Jezewski (R):  http://jeffjforops.com.  Education: UNO, BSBA with major in Accounting.  Volunteer experience: Sienna Francis House, YMCA youth sports.

Nancy Kratky (R):  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: Metro Area Boards of Education 1994-2008.  Past president twice.  Education: Bachelors and Masters from UNO.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Salvation Army Auxiliary Board, Phi Delta Kappa, Citizens Advisory Board-OPS 19592018, NE Mental Health Planning and Education Committee, Technical  High Renovation Committee.

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 6, Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Jeff Jezewski: My overall emphasis will be to help the Board focus on OPS’s mission which states:  OPS prepares all students to excel in college, career, and life.  More specifically, I will use my 30 years of real world business experience and finance background to help OPS address its daunting unfunded pension liability.

Nancy Kratky: 1. Ability of others to easily reach TAC building staff and get satisfactory information in a shorter period of time.  Cutting staff over and over does not necessarily produce  good results.  2. We have a serious problem with language usage in our test scores, student papers and conversation.  This problem continues to grow daily.  I will address this at every opportunity.  Textbooks are not doing an adequate job.  Supplemental materials and greater focus is necessary.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Jeff Jezewski: There is no silver bullet when it comes to eliminating the achievement gap.  Certainly, we should utilize all the tools available to address the issue.  And technology is one of those tools.  We do need to make certain that any ‘new’ approaches or techniques deployed are based on sound research and do not cause confusion or distraction for our teaching professionals.  I will work tirelessly to eliminate the achievement gap.

Nancy Kratky: We have whiteboards vs. blackboards. 1-1 ratio of computers and grade level sharing. Instructors presentations can be seen by all.  Student learning by access to apps, virtual learning, tablets and e-books. Websites provide the rapid-changing information vs. use of multiple, expensive textbooks for STEM, making the purchase cost effective. In many instances we allow computers to be used for homework assignments. Finally, familiarity of technology and the application of it is essential today.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Jeff Jezewski: The safety of our kids is of utmost priority.  OPS should plan, practice, and be prepared to execute its plans to protect our kids.  However, I do not believe our teachers should be armed.  Our teachers should teach.  If additional security in our buildings is necessary then OPS will devote additional resources without impacting teaching in the classroom.

Nancy Kratky: Safety is always paramount in our ever-changing environment. Schools provide security entrances/ exits and parking lot cameras and alarm systems. Disguised personnel, police officers and school resource officers are now the norm. Finally, management of student traffic flow within the building and at the exits is used. In addition to keyed entries, drug sniffing dogs may be used. We monitor the trimming of trees and shrubs and provide specific terrorism training and drills for students and staff.

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 8

Kimara Z. Snipe (D): No response received.

Voters’ Guide: Gretna Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Gretna Board of Education

Jennifer Bullington (R):  http://www.facebook.com/bullingtonforschoolboard.  Education: Bachelors Degree from Iowa State University, Masters Degree from Pacific Oaks College.  Military experience: Spouse of Air Force Veteran.  Volunteer experience: Board Member for the nonprofit Survivors Rising, Teaching Assistant for a Taekwondo kids class, Room Parent at Whitetail Creek Elementary School, Active Gretna Community Member

Jennifer Deitloff (NP):  Current Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Past Public Office, dates held: N/A.      Education: Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from University of Nebraska; Juris Doctorate from University of Nebraska College of Law.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Member — Child Saving Institute Guild Board since 2012 and started Kids 4 Kids of CSI — where kids plan a fundraising event supporting kids in foster care and the emergency shelter.  Association of Corporate Counsel programs committee co-chair.

David Gulizia (R):  No response received.

Mark Hauptman (R):  No response received.

Carsten Ruff (NP):  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright (R):  No response received.

Gretna Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Jennifer Bullington: First, I would love to be able to do my part in pursuing safety in school drop off and pick up procedures, including a street light at Hwy 370 & 186th St. As our district expands, we must continue to consider the safety of young and inexperienced drivers as well as the rush of traffic around those times. Second, I would love to gather as many members of the school district as possible to share their voices on our growing school district as we continue to learn the best way to expand.

Jennifer Deitloff: I would seek to understand both the work that the board has done to date and the individual perspectives of the other board members and the administration on strategic priorities for the district.  Thereafter, I would work collaboratively to ensure that we have appropriate crisis plans in place that properly address the risks facing our students, teachers and staff.  I would also take on a focused review of curriculum to identify areas to improve, enhance or modernize what we have today.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Jennifer Bullington: Technology has allowed our students to have a competitive edge and a head start on preengineering, pre-architecture, and pre-urban planning skills, just as a few examples, thusly better preparing them for higher education opportunities. The hands-on experience technology provides gives the kinesthetic and visual learners an opportunity to excel, making abstract concepts easier to understand & apply. We must use this opportunity to continue teaching internet safety as well.

Jennifer Deitloff: Not all of the technological tools that schools invest in actually promote learning and development for all students.  Schools should be disciplined and ask themselves whether they are investing in a technology because it is a popular trend among other schools or whether the technology will actually support the learning, participation and comprehension of all student users or does it instead reinforce social inequalities.  Schools need to be mindful of any barriers with the use of new technology

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Jennifer Bullington: Being an educator myself means I’ve been a part of safety and lockdown drills. In addition to the regular drills and the officers present frequently in our schools, we need to bring the community’s voice to the discussion. What more do parents and other invested parties want to see? I’ve been fascinated by Oklahoma’s bulletproof shelters they’ve installed in classrooms. Additionally, I do believe we need to continue research on the prevalence of the Gretna area human trafficking.

Jennifer Deitloff: School safety has never been more prevalent in public discourse than it is today.  Protecting safety of students, teachers and staff in our school systems is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution.  Working to identify a mix between seeking to control access to guns, identifying and addressing mental and/or emotional health issues, investing in school security technology, identifying bullying and negative peer behavior and ensuring proactive crisis management plans are a start.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

Jennifer Bullington:  No response received.

Jennifer Deitloff: Nebraska’s public schools consistently score rankings above the national average.  While I recognize the importance of parental choice, it is important to consider the potential negative impact to students and society.  Choice does not necessarily guarantee quality.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

Voters’ Guide: Nebraska State Board of Education, District 8

The State Board of Education is an elected, constitutional body that sets policy and ensures that the State Department of Education functions effectively within the framework developed by the state Legislature and the board. By law, the board and the department have broad leadership functions to carry out certain regulatory and service activities. — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for State Board of Education, District 8

Pat McPherson (R):  http://www.votemcpherson.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Nebraska State Board of Education, 2014-2018.  Past Public Office, dates held: Papio Natural Resources District  1978-82.  Education: Central High School, Omaha, Nebraska  Creighton University, B. A. Degree.  Military experience: U. S. Army Reserves.  Volunteer experience: Nebraska Comprehensive Health Insurance Board; National Association of State Boards of Education; Omaha Charter Review Commission; Community Health Charities of America and Nebraska; American Diabetes Ass;Foster Child Review Board, Red Cross

Deborah Neary (D):  http://neary4stateeducation.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: No previous attempt to run for public office.  Past Public Office, dates held: No previous attempt to run for public office.  Education: Master’s Degree in Public Administration and History.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: *Business Ethics Alliance, Trustee  *West Omaha Rotary – Member & Former Club Officer  *ServeNebraska Board –Appointed by Governor Ricketts *Madonna School Board Member *League of Women Voters – Former Board Member *Leadership Omaha, Class 31.

State Board of Education, District 8, Candidates’ Responses

Do you see this board as being an elected or appointed body?  Please explain your reasoning.

Pat McPherson: It should continue to be an elected body.   Its current elected 8 member board represents diverse areas of our state which have unique demographics and needs and concerns.   These range from small rural districts to large urban cities.  Having district representatives assures all voices are heard and needs addressed while also providing respect for local control rather than top-down decisions made in allegiance to one who appoints.

Deborah Neary: It is the responsibility of each board member to listen to the constituents they represent, and to parents, students, teachers, & administrators, to develop policies that guide high quality education. I believe the elective process is more democratic and can prompt citizens to take greater interest when they feel their voices are heard. Education policies deserve to be thoroughly researched and discussed, and conform to no political agenda.

What can be done to ensure safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Pat McPherson: The board has adopted school safety standards but that’s not enough because of limited Department of Education personnel and funding.   The board must insist on better compliance in all of Nebraska’s 244 districts and 1100 schools.   The board must work with the legislature to provide stronger safety requirements for new buildings and funds for implementing improvements in existing schools.  Those schools that don’t adopt necessary changes must be held accountable through accreditation process.

Deborah Neary: I believe our Nebraska’s schools need resources to continue planning for the possibility of violence, to coordinate with law enforcement, and to secure their buildings from potential intrusion.  I also agree school districts need resources for increased numbers of mental health counselors, psychologists, and social workers able to identify and work with students whose behavior may include warning signs for potential violence.

How can the continuing education of teachers be supported?

Pat McPherson: Too many teachers get their teaching certificate and then choose to leave the classroom after only a short time because of lack of support or preparation.   Ongoing education should better reflect the challenges they face daily in their classrooms.  Providing continued education that helps recognize learning difficulties like dyslexia as well as mental and toxic stress issues would help them better cope with the challenges they face. Having the benefit of master teachers would also be beneficial

Deborah Neary: Quality teaching is the most important factor for student success in the classroom and it is imperative teachers have access to the supports they need. Professional development and continuing education opportunities are crucial to improving teaching skills. However, I do believe it is time for an NDE review of current processes regarding continuing education credits and increased compensation for teachers.  Successful models deployed in other states are available for consideration.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Pat McPherson: 1) I want to assure the board’s strategic plan continues to be implemented and that as we complete the second year of it this December that we have an unbiased third party evaluate our performance; 2) I want to make sure that the upcoming revision of the state’s social studies standards are rigorous, receive strong input from parents and business, reflect the uniqueness of our state and national governments and prepare students for civic life and community engagement.

Deborah Neary: The most urgent role of this board is to find ways to close achievement gaps and to provide teachers the supports they need to be successful in this goal. I will advocate for innovative measures that strengthen schools, uphold state standards, and continue the tradition of taxpayer oversight via elected board members.  And, I will advocate for more behavioral supports. We can review new delivery models for services that minimize out-of-classtime and provide cost efficiencies for districts.

Voters’ Guide: Metropolitan Community College Board of Govenors

The Board of Governors at Metropolitan Community College is composed of 11 members elected to four-year terms. The members represent five districts, with one member at large. The board governs the College, sets policy, approves the budget and sets the local College tax levy. The table below lists each member of the board. — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, At-Large District

Note: Everyone who lives within one of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors districts can vote for the at-large position.

Paul Anderson (R):  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: High School Diploma 1971 Kensington High, Kensington,Kansas.  Military experience: Retired US Navy Reserve.  Volunteer experience: Salvation Army (Bus Driver) DAV (Shuttle Driver)

Ron Hug (D):  Current Public Office, dates held: Metropolitan Community College Board At-Large Seat 2014 to Date.  Past Public Office, dates held: Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 1, 1999 to 2014. Education: G.E.D. Metropolitan Community College 1974.  Volunteer experience: Roxbury Neighborhood Asso. Cinnamon Creek Home Owners Asso. Carlson Employees Credit Union Board

Mort Sullivan (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, At-Large District, Candidates’ Responses

How should the role of a community college differ from that of a four-year university?

Paul Anderson: Students in a community college have the opportunity to obtain the necessary professional skills for a good paying job in the trades. A community college can provide a gateway to begin work toward a four year degree.

Ron Hug: The roll of a Community college should be different and at the same time augment that of a four year institution. Providing Vocational education and training to help those enter the work force, And to help educate those that aspire to move on to a four year college including those that may need help to enhance their skills to ensure their success at the 4 year level.  Community colleges offer may programs that are not offered at the four year level such as in remedial education,

Mort Sullivan:  Unable to reach candidate.

What should be the qualifications of instructors at Metro?

Paul Anderson: The qualifications of all Metro instructors should be, they possess a masters degree, or have the equivalent life skills to teach in their area of study. I will also add, they need to have the ability to teach, just because one may have the college degree or the life skills, doesn’t guarantee, that they can and will be a good instructor!

Ron Hug:  The State of Nebraska Dept. of Education requires that those instructors of academic courses hold at least a Master Degree. And those instructing in vocational classes required to be competent in their field,  The credentials of all Metros Instructors are reviewed by the accreditation agency The Higher Learning Commission, All other fields have particular accreditation organizations which review instructors credentials.

Mort Sullivan:  Unable to reach candidate.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Paul Anderson: Explore the possibility of decreasing the financial burden of the purchase of textbooks and other required class materials.  Study the possibility of expanding the college into Blair, Nebraska.

Ron Hug: I have the honor of currently serving on the Metro Board, I will utilize my experiences  and knowledge from serving on the board to ensure the Students and the Taxpayers are afforded the highest quality Community College in every aspect.  I will work with my fellow board members to form a cohesive team. Working towards common goals and objectives in the best interest of the Metropolitan Community College four county area.

Mort Sullivan: Unable to reach candidate.

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 1

Phillip Klein (R):   Unable to reach candidate.

Candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 2

Brad Ashby (R):  Current Public Office, dates held: Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors 20152019.  Education: Computer Science, University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Military experience: USAF 1981-1986 NEANG 1986-1999.

Erin Feichtinger (D):  http://erinformetro.com  Current Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Past Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Education: B.S. Special Education, Loyola University Chicago Ph.D, Transnational Urban and Early Modern Social History, Loyola University Chicago.  Military experience: N/A.  Volunteer experience: Camp Munroe at the Munroe-Meyer Institute (’04 – ’08) Respite Care Provider (’07-’10) A Just Harvest Community Kitchen (’11-’16)

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 2, Candidates’ Responses

How should the role of a community college differ from that of a four-year university?

Brad Ashby: Traditionally the Community College taught trades such as HVAC, Welding, Automotive, Dental Assistant, etc. Today the role of the Community College is not only to teach trades, but offers High School students an opportunity to dual enroll and get a jump on obtaining college credits while still in High School.  The Community College is also a great place for students who are planning to obtain a 4 year degree to obtain general education credits at 50% of the cost of most 4 year institutions.

Erin Feichtinger: A community college is a bridge, a net, and a foundation. It must span those gaps between high school and a university, that impede advancing in a career, and skills desired for a fuller life. It must catch those who might struggle by providing support services that fit the needs and abilities of every learner. It is a stable foundation in students’ lives and in our community, providing a practical education that builds our economy and creates equality through access and inclusion.

What should be the qualifications of instructors at Metro?

Brad Ashby:  Metro Community College requires a minimum of a Master’s degree with 18 hours in the subject being taught.  It is also important for the instructor to have “real with world” practical experience in the field that they are teaching.

Erin Feichtinger:  Instructors must meet the qualifications necessary to maintain the highest levels of accreditation. They should hold either one level degree higher than those sought by their students or equivalent life experience. Instructors should be judged according to their ability to deliver quality instruction, and their willingness to learn and adopt best practices in course design and delivery. The mission of Metro to provide opportunity for all students must also equally apply to its faculty.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Brad Ashby: I will continue to keep the tax payers interests in mind by making sure that tax dollars are spent in the best possible way. At the same time I will continue to make sure the students get the best possible education for their money.

Erin Feichtinger: I will maintain the current rate of tuition and work to increase the number of available scholarships and opportunities for financial assistance, and maintain support services for student, faculty, and staff so that money spent translates to a degree earned. I will expand public, private, and nonprofit partnerships to effectively leverage existing community resources so that Metro remains a relevant and useful institution for every student and lifelong learner.

Candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3

Maureen Monahan (D): http://www.facebook.com/MonahanforMetro/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel  Education:

St. Robert Bellarmine Grade School, Marian High School, Boston College, B.A., Loyola Chicago School of Law, J.D.  Volunteer experience: Nebraska Bar Association, Juvenile Section, past chair, and family law section, Leadership Academy, Suburban Athletic Association, Parishioner, St. Robert Bellarmine.

Jim Trebbien (R):  Education: BS Math, Minnesota State University.  Military experience: 2 Years US Army.    Volunteer experience: Countless hours in helping people that need assistance.

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3, Candidates’ Responses

How should the role of a community college differ from that of a four-year university?

Maureen Monahan: Community colleges are more economical and more flexible in adapting to the needs of the community for work and skills. They help residents complete missing High School credits.  They also provide much needed vocational training that Universities just don’t offer. Community college tends to be more age diverse allowing a comfortable atmosphere for an adult returning to post high school education, a high school student seeking college classes or a retiree learning community skills.

Jim Trebbien: People that wish to learn a trade, take General education classes, or personal development classes all should attend a Community College.  Metropolitan Community College is a great place to attend college for most everyone that wants to learn.

What should be the qualifications of instructors at Metro?

Maureen Monahan:  Instructors should have a degree and 2 years of experience in his or her field and/or education experience. There may be exceptions for someone who has completed a technical training program and/or who has exceptional experience in a field for vocational classes.  Maintaining instructor qualifications is paramount to meeting the requirements for classes to transfer to a 4 year University.  Of course any instructor needs the ability to connect, teach and measure the progress of students.

Jim Trebbien: To be experts in there field, stay current, and be able to teach people that learn in different styles.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Maureen Monahan: 1) An assessment of existing facilities use and by whom is needed. A gap exists in Washington County due to Dana College closing.  The assessment should see if Metro can fill that gap and others for both facilities and programs. 2)  Develop a strategic plan to reach out to national employers. Metro can train a workforce they need to establish new businesses here or use current businesses. Metro can be a workforce and economic engine in partnership with local governments and business.

Jim Trebbien: 1,  Keep taxes as low as possible, and 2.  Make sure the best people are hired to be instructors.

Candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 4

Angela Monegain (D):  Education: Currently on hiatus, while in pursuit of an Associates for Paralegal Studies.

Scott J. Packer (D):  http://PackerForNebraska.com.  education: Creighton University School of Law; J.D., 2015 University of Nebraska at Omaha; B.S. Political Science, 2010.  Volunteer experience: New Leaders Council; Omaha Chapter Finance Chair Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska: Volunteer Law Clerk Internal Revenue Service: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Tax Preparer.

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 4, Candidates’ Responses

How should the role of a community college differ from that of a four-year university?

Angela Monegain:   The essential roles of the community college, begin with the community and the surrounding area.  The community college provides a transition which makes the intellectual within more comfortable.  The schedules and the college are geared for attendance with daily input.  The classes are providing a basic need for the shortfalls of the community.  The individual is not lost and may flourish more readily.  The cost effectiveness provides a win-win for all involved.

Scott J. Packer: Community colleges cater not only to recent high school graduates, but also to non-traditional students who are oftentimes older and have been in the workforce for some time. These older students are often looking for job-training or certifications that they can use to take the next step in their careers, and don’t need the additional course work and debt that a four-year institution provides.

What should be the qualifications of instructors at Metro?

Angela Monegain:  Certified credentials provide the initial qualifications for instructors at Metropolitan Community College.  Background checks along with inoculation checks are highly respected.  The ability to move effortlessly between the community with intellectual stamina provides a firm foundation for the community served.  Instructors with life experience provide goals which open the minds of others to the coming millennia of new types of employment.

Scott J. Packer: The key to providing a quality, affordable education for students at MCC is ensuring that faculty have the experience, resources, and administrative support to give the students the education they need. Beyond having a Master’s Degree in the area in which they are instructing, teachers at MCC should have extensive experience in the field in which they are teaching. That experience allows instructors to prepare students for real-world working conditions.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Angela Monegain:   A year in after the election, I would like to accomplish a firm State of the Union.  My growth will exhibit the strength in unity that a community college remains, for a bridge over troubled waters.  Fairness should prevail in all decisions.  My initial shyness of the camera and public speaking will be conquered.

Scott J. Packer: I want to remove the obstacles that prevent students from completing their degrees, so I will implement programs to better support students who are struggling to get by. I will establish a food pantry on campus to assist students with food insecurity so students don’t have to choose between their education and a hot meal. I will also establish daycare assistance for students at Metro so that students can rest easy knowing that there is someone who can watch their child while they are in class.

Voters’ Guide: Elkhorn Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Elkhorn Board of Education

Chuck Burney (R):  Current Public Office, dates held: Elkhorn School Board, 2011 to 2018.  Education: Bachelor’s Degree In Social Sciences Education (7-12) From Wayne State College  Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from The University Of Nebraska At Omaha.  Military experience: N/A.  Volunteer experience: Nebraska Realty Kindness Crew St. Patrick’s Church Men’s Club Elkhorn Girls’ Softball Association Open Door Mission  Charles B. Garman (R):  http://www.GarmanForElkhorn.org.  Current Public Office, dates held: Trustee SID, third term. Just elected clerk.  Education: Augustana University, BA 2002 Creighton University School of Law, JD 2005.  Military experience: Army National Guard 1999-2011 Active duty in support of OIF 2003.  Volunteer experience: Service as assistant minister at St. Timothy.

Amy Parks (D):  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe (R):  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Elkhorn Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Chuck Burney:  My top priority is for the Elkhorn Public Schools to continue and build on our outstanding academic achievements that have been produced year in and year out, while at the same time passing fiscally responsible budgets that will give our staff the best resources to accomplish this.  Another priority that I hope to accomplish by the end of the first year of my third term would be to help make our students aware of all of their opportunities as they determine their post-high school plans.

Charles B. Garman: I will push for a comprehensive curriculum that sets high standards to give students a goal to shoot for.  Specifically, our children should either be able to read to standard by grade three or have additional educational support in place to correct any deficiencies.  This includes early diagnosis of learning disabilities.  I will work on a prioritized budget that takes loss of state funding into consideration.  The budget needs to fund what the district needs but not everything desired.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Chuck Burney:  During the last couple of years the Elkhorn Public Schools has been phasing in 1-to-1 technology into grades 8-12.  Technology should be used to enhance learning. Technology allows greater access to online resources.  The proper use of technology creates greater student engagement and allows teachers to create tailored learning experiences.  It is important to ensure teachers are properly trained to integrate technology into our curriculum, and for the district to oversee its proper usage.

Charles B. Garman: Technology and its proper use is the future of education.  However, it cannot take the place of properly trained and paid educators.  Technology is an education multiplier but does not replace best practices.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Chuck Burney:  I was a teacher at Millard South on 1-05-2011.  It is vital that we ensure the safety of students.  Through recently passed bond issues, we have improved safety by limiting access points to all of our older schools, while building new ones with an emphasis on safety.  This year we have added school resource officers so all of our high and middle schools will have an SRO presence during the day.  Staff policy and procedures regarding safety must be reviewed often to make our schools safe.

Charles B. Garman: Unfortunately this is a matter for our State Legislature as currently not all options are on the table.  EPS is currently a good job having School Resource Officers where our schools are soft targets and strictly controlling access where possible.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

Chuck Burney:  Speaking as a member of the school board for the highest achieving school district in the state, there is no role for charter schools within our district.  My opinion is that the state would be better suited providing more funding for K-12 education rather than redirecting resources away from public education.  The Elkhorn district, as well as many others in Nebraska have produced excellent results on a dwindling budget.  It would be exciting to see what they can accomplish when properly funded.

Charles B. Garman: My job as member of the Elkhorn school Board would be to ensure EPS offers the highest quality education so that parents have no interest in a charter school.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

Voters’ Guide: Learning Community Coordinating Council

Together with school districts and community organizations as partners, (the Learning Community group) demonstrate, share and implement more effective practices to measurably improve educational outcomes for children and families in poverty. — from the Learning Community’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Learning Community Coordinating Council, District 1

Bradley Ekwerekwu (D):  No response received.

Brian Thommes (D):  No response received.

Candidates for Learning Community Coordinating Council, District 3

Mark Hoeger (D):   No response received.

Melinda Kozel (D):  http://votekozel.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: n/a.  Past Public Office, dates held: n/a.  Education: BA-Art History, Univ of Nebraska at Omaha;  MA-Ed-Arts Education, Univ of Nebraska at Kearney.  Military experience: n/a.  Volunteer experience: Dog Walker, Nebraska Humane Society;  Visual Arts Chair, Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards;  The Shakespeare Collective.

Learning Community Coordinating Council, District 3, Candidates’ Responses

How do you envision the future of the Learning Community?

Mark Hoeger:  No response received.

Melinda Kozel:  I see the Learning Community as a support structure to all of our school districts. The Learning Community is able to generate funds, develop partnerships, and implement programs and staff in a way that is more efficient, cost-effective, and consistent than districts would be able to do on their own. Because of this, the effort to close gaps in educational access, well-being, and performance can be given the attention it deserves.

In your own words, what is the mission of the Learning Community?

Mark Hoeger:  No response received.

Melinda Kozel:  The Learning Community is showing positive results of the work it is doing and proving the necessity of an outside entity to support schools and neighborhoods. I see this becoming more evident each year. I can also see it proving as a working model for the rest of the Nebraska. Tackling the gaps in access and achievement throughout the state is a growing concern and the ability to replicate this idea could greatly benefit us as a state.

How can the Learning Community improve outcomes for all students?

Mark Hoeger:  No response received.

Melinda Kozel:  It is our responsibility to acknowledge barriers that prevent students from having a positive and productive experience and seek out resources or methods that can alleviate those disruptions. We need to make sure that schools are a place where every single student feels safe, acknowledged, supported and inspired no matter their race, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, economic experience or level of ability and uplift teachers & families to support them.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Mark Hoeger:  No response received.

Melinda Kozel:  I would like to explore ways of incorporating mental health related programs throughout the city. Students should have consistent access to counselors, their families to systems of support, and teachers to resources to better equip them as well as offer support.  I would also like to explore the possibility of opening a center in or near Subcouncil 3 to benefit families and students that need safe and reliable access to programs and resources and facilitate collaboration with nearby schools.

Candidates for Learning Community Coordinating Council, District 5

Anayeli Martinez Real (D):  http://AnayeliReal.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Past Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Education: Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering.  Military experience: N/A.  Volunteer experience: Since 2016 I have been a Circle Program Career Coach for middle school girls through Civic Nebraska. Since 2015 I have worked with small business entrepreneurs as a Volunteer Instructor for the Business & Contractor Academy at Metropolitan Community

Erik O Servellon (D):  Web Site: http://erikserves.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Bachelor of Art, Political Science, 2013, UNO;  Master of Public Administration, 2016, UNO.  Military experience: 10 Years Service Nebraska Army National Guard, 2016-2017 Deployment to Afghanistan as a Flight Medic Sergeant, 2017 Mobilization to Texas for Hurricane Harvey response.  Volunteer experience: President, Metro Young Latino Professionals Association; Board Member, Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership; Board Member, UNO Military Alumni Group; 2018 Fellow, New Leaders Council Omaha; Board Member, Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee

Tonya Ward (D):  No response received.

Learning Community Coordinating Council, District 5, Candidates’ Responses

How do you envision the future of the Learning Community?

Anayeli Martinez Real:  The Learning Community is an organization with endless opportunities to help mold the future of the youth in our community. I envision the Learning Community becoming the organization that will help students not only improve education from K-12 but also make sure kids find successful and rewarding careers post k12. This will not only change outcome of kids involved in Learning Community programs but also improve lifestyle of generations to come.

Erik O Servellon:  I envision the Learning Community as another pillar of the strong public education system in Nebraska.  Exporting best practices for pedagogy, early childhood education, and family learning all the while being a go-to resource for area students, parents, and teachers. The Learning Community of the future will no longer be a political issue – but instead a testament to many sides coming together to solve the age-old issue of the educational achievement gap.

Tonya Ward:  No response received.

In your own words, what is the mission of the Learning Community?

Anayeli Martinez Real: The Learning Communities mission is to be an organization that partners with existing community organizations and school districts to close the education gap for children and families in poverty. The mission is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely which is important to assure tax payers dollars are being spent wisely.

Erik O Servellon:  The mission of the Learning Community is to close the achievement gap in students throughout Douglas and Sarpy County school districts.  Through early childhood education, family learning, and teacher development programs, the Learning Community uses a comprehensive, holistic approach to set parents, teachers, and most importantly, students, on the road to success.

Tonya Ward:  No response received.

How can the Learning Community improve outcomes for all students?

Anayeli Martinez Real: The Learning Community is spending their resources to help kids in poverty close the education gap. If elected I will promote an investment in low-performing students to help close the education gap. A big part of my focus will be to increase outreach to parents to involve them with the education of their youth. More engaged families mean more engaged students.

Erik O Servellon:  The Learning Community can show school districts that core programs are producing measurable results.  One such example is an early childhood program that has shown to close the achievement gap in K-3 students, as compared to students who are not in the program.  The Learning Community is an organization that can try programs at a smaller scale (thus less risk), show that they work (or don’t), and export best practices or lessons learned to area districts for implementation.

Tonya Ward:  No response received.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Anayeli Martinez Real: I will help Learning Community expand their focus on higher education preparation and career education programs. This investment will help develop long term goals for teenagers and young adults that will help our community prosper. Another goal will be to help finalize the Community Achievement Plan, specifically the portion focused on preparing students for a successful career.  I will help increase collaboration between residents, districts, and the learning community. I will encourage public

Erik O Servellon:  When elected, I hope to develop a stronger relationship between the Learning Community and local. state, and federal elected officials.  The Learning Community is a hidden gem that is underappreciated – simply getting elected officials in the door of a Learning Community center would show them the immense public good that the L.C. is providing.  Additionally, I hope to build stronger public-private relationships, leveraging Omaha’s remarkable philanthropic community to elevate the L.C.

Tonya Ward:  No response received.

Voters’ Guide: University of Nebraska Board of Regents

The Board (of Regents) supervises the general operations of the university, as well as controls and directs all expenditures. A corporation secretary provides governance advice and support to the Board, and is the official record keeper for the proceedings of the Board of Regents meetings. — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 4

Larry Bradley (D):  http://www.bradleyforregent.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District, District 3. 2016-current.  Past Public Office, dates held: Papio-Missouri NRD, District 3. 20082012.  Education: B.S. Biology ’97 (UNO), M.A. Biology ’01 (UNO), Ph.D. Geography ’10 (UNL), Minor in Geology, Minor in Native American Studies.  Technical High School.  Central Grade School, downtown Omaha.  Military experience: United States Army.  1982-1986.  Honorable Discharge.  E-4.  91R.  Army Achievement Medal.  Good Conduct Medal.  Norfolk, VA 1983-84.  Frankfurt, West Germany 1985-86.    Volunteer experience: Commander of Local Veterans Post, 2008-2015.  President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians-Father Flanagan Division, 2015-2017. Immigration Chair for AOH, 2018.  Youth sports coach for Catholic Youth League and YMCA (when my children were young).

Elizabeth O’Connor (D):  http://www.ElizabethForRegent.com.  Past Public Office, dates held: University of Nebraska Board of Regents, UNO student representative 2011-2012;  University of Nebraska Board of Regents, Executive Committee member  2011-2012.  Education: University of Nebraska Omaha, Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Summa Cum Laude 2012;  University of Notre Dame Law School, Juris Doctor, 2015.  Volunteer experience: Executive board member of the Friends of Nebraska Children;  Mentor to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Underserved Law Opportunity Program (ULOP).

University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 4, Candidates’ Responses

What role does the First Amendment have on college campuses?

Larry Bradley:  Pro Academic Freedom and Pro Science is one of my platform issues.  I have studied, researched, lectured, and taught at the collegiate level in Nebraska for three decades now.  I have personally experienced barriers for my original contribution to science.  As long as any person or group does not seek to incite hatred, riots, or violence on our beautiful and peaceful campuses, then it is our civic duty to allow civil discourse so that we may attain common ground on critical issues.

Elizabeth O’Connor: Freedom of speech should be a cherished and celebrated right on college campuses.  Our universities must be a crossroads where people can meet in dialogue:  a place where diverse ideas, cultures and perspectives can be exchanged freely and openly, where ideas are debated and where every sincere contributor is listened to and respected.  Our universities should aspire to be places where the exchange of diverse ideas is welcomed in civil conversation and differences of opinion are not foreclosed.

How do you see the future of funding for Nebraska’s public universities?

Larry Bradley: Currently, as I view the issue, funding for public education K-16 is under assault, not only in Nebraska, but the entire country.  As a candidate who actually grew up and reside in District 4, I have a history of raising thousands of dollars for students who could not otherwise attend Nebraska public universities.  As a veteran, I am the logical candidate choice to lobby for DOD research funding.  I have the proven leadership and experience to work with all sides on funding issues.

Elizabeth O’Connor: Funding for the University should be viewed as an investment in Nebraska’s future.  The University should be funded fairly – it should not be asked to shoulder a higher burden of cuts than other state agencies. It should spend those funds prudently – every dollar it receives takes a dollar away from other state agencies.  We must invest wisely in Nebraska’s future – the solution to building Nebraska’s economy is not through cuts but through growth.  The University is an engine for that growth.

With the rising costs of higher education, how will you help to ensure that all young Nebraskans have access to a college education?

Larry Bradley: Affordable Education is one of my platform issues.  As a father, I will fight for Nebraska’s most important resource, which is the future of our children.  I would investigate to see exactly who is profiting from Student loan providers such as NELNET, which is based in Lincoln, NE.  I will be the most vocal about the current President of the U.S. cutting Pell Grants by $3.9 billion and eliminating student loan debt forgiveness programs.  I have been an advocate for low tuition for 30 years now.

Elizabeth O’Connor: There are ways to efficiently provide a high-quality education, such as: leveraging technology and continuing strategic educational partnerships.  While the University is competitively priced, tuition increases weigh heavily on students.  A typical family can expect to spend between 26-30% of its annual income on tuition.  Nebraska invests less than a third of the national average in need-based aid.  I will focus on ensuring that need-based financial aid is available to all eligible students.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Larry Bradley: First and foremost, I will ensure the atrocious, exploitation of part-time labor at UNO, with respect to the high number of 500 adjunct professors, is brought to the center of debate.  Especially, for those who have not had a raise in ten years or more, and those who had to sign away benefits.  Second, I will ask legal counsel to investigate if the Anti-Affirmative Action petition circulated around Nebraska a half decade ago is still constitutional with respect to hiring diverse faculty.

Elizabeth O’Connor: As a woman and young professional, I will bring a valuable and diverse perspective to the Board as it deals with matters that affect all Nebraskans. The issues regarding free speech and budget may highlight a growing rift between the University and Legislature which would be detrimental to our future.  In my visits with business leaders, elected officials and University administration, it is clear we have a shared a goal: a better future for Nebraska.  I will refocus us on that goal.

Candidates for University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 8

Hal Daub (R):  Web Site: http://haldaubforregent.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 8, 2013 to present.  Past Public Office, dates held: Four elected terms, U.S. House of Representatives, 11981-89; twice elected Mayor of Omaha, 1994-2001.  Education: Batchelors Degree in Business Administration, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; Juris Doctor Degree, University of Nebraska College of Law.   Military experience: 2nd and 1st Lieutent, Infantry Rifle Company, and then promoted to Captain, Company Commander, Second U.S. Army Infantry Division in Korea.  Volunteer experience: Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Autism, Wounded Warriors Family Support, Head Start and Fatherhood Initiative Boards presently; Rotary, Optimists Clubs; Chamber Business Hall of Fame; Distinguished Alumnus of University of Nebraska, Washington Univ.

Barbara Weitz (D):  http://barbaraweitzforregent.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Bachelor of Arts, Carleton College (1970). Master of Public Administration, New York University (1974). Master of Social Work, University of Nebraska at Omaha (1991). PhD candidate (all but dissertation), Case Western Reserve (1998).  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: University of Nebraska Foundation board, Urban League of Nebraska board, Avenue Scholars board, Building Bright Futures board, Nebraska Children & Families Foundation board, Women’s Fund of Greater Omaha board         

Candidates for University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 4

What role does the First Amendment have on college campuses?

Hal Daub:  The Four great freedoms of Press, Religion, Speech and Assembly must be the core policy commitments of our University of Nebraska environment, for students, teachers and our guests and visitors. My strong commitment is to these principles of open and transparent learning proscribed only by such limitations as may be reasonable to facilitate respectful, non-threating conduct, non-disruptive activity or discourse that does not damage the reputation of the University.

Barbara Weitz: Freedom of speech on campus is of the utmost importance. Universities are the foundational institutions where ideas, theories and philosophies can be examined, tested and adopted based on each person’s individual experience and personal values. The role of the university is to create an atmosphere where all perspectives can be expressed and challenged.

How do you see the future of funding for Nebraska’s public universities?

Hal Daub:  Given the State’s limited population and taxpayer resources, funding our $2,6 billion University budget will continue to be a real challenge.  My past experience and efforts in working with Governor Heineman to freeze tuition and my background in managing large budgets at the City of Omaha and the University will provide the oversight necessary to meet these challenges.  I am committed to maintaining the fiscal restraint to insure affordable, accessible education for Nebraska students.

Barbara Weitz: I am very concerned about continued cuts to the University of Nebraska’s budget. As a former UNO professor, I agree that we must be fiscally responsible. However, the University of Nebraska is the number one employer for the state and brings in six dollars for every dollar spent. Continuing to cut the university’s budget and eliminating programs will hurt our ability to recruit and retain faculty and students and provide an affordable education to all Nebraskans.

With the rising costs of higher education, how will you help to ensure that all young Nebraskans have access to a college education?

Hal Daub: Faced with trimming $30 million from administration, I supported creative solutions which involved combining functions and cutting expenses. Over 6,000 students receive their Nebraska University Education on full scholarship, and we have added $5 Million more for Husker Scholarships for each of the next two years from our successful Athletic Department Programs for non-athletic department students. Managing costs, focusing on programs and coursework germane to the future workforce is critical.

Barbara Weitz: The burden of rising tuition and student loan debt prevents many Nebraskans from receiving an affordable education. As Regent, I will find innovative solutions and alternative revenue streams to offset budget cuts and reduce our reliance on tuition increases to balance the university’s budget. These include public-private partnerships with companies and foundations to fund university programs and scholarships and university patents that bring in revenue – I am open to new, creative solutions.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Hal Daub: Having Chaired the Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee for the Board,  (1)my knowledge of the fiscal and academic programs learned as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee give me subject matter expertise to continue to keep our budget balanced, tuition, board and room competitively affordable (2)work aggressively to help recruit and retain great teachers to assure all students will have a well-administered environment to support great learning experiences, research and outcomes

Barbara Weitz: First, I will work to make the Board of Regents more accessible to the public by increasing opportunities for communication with taxpayers who fund the university. I will hold regular town hall meetings and “office hours” across the district to share information and receive suggestions about what our priorities should be. Second, I will have meetings with private companies and foundations to discover possibilities for raising university revenue through public-private partnerships.