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.

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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.

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