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Westside Community Schools

Hall of Fame and Lighthouse Leaders

Leaders throughout the Westside Community have announced the inductees into the 2016 Hall of Fame as well as the 2016 Lighthouse Leaders. All will be recognized at the 2016 Celebration Gala on November 3 at Happy Hollow Club.  CLICK HERE to watch a video presentation highlighting our 2016 honorees.

Six esteemed alumni will be inducted into the Westside Alumni Association Hall of Fame.  Two couples, selected by the Westside Foundation and leaders throughout Westside Community Schools, will be honored as Lighthouse Leaders.  November’s event is a joint collaboration between three organizations with historic roots in our community: Westside Community Schools, the Westside Community Council and the Westside Alumni Association.

Hall Of Fame Inductees

Dana Bradford, Class of 1983


Dana serves as chairman and CEO of Waitt Brands, a consumer brands company that includes such brands as Bobby Jones, Sunice, Vornado, Viking and Battle. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his MBA from Creighton University.  From 2005 to 2012, Dana was president and managing partner of McCarthy Capital. He has held numerous board positions over the years in a variety of industries. In addition to his role at Waitt Brands, he currently sits on the board of Meritage Homes (NYSE: MTH), one of the larger homebuilders in the U.S., and Southwest Value Partners, a San Diego based real estate investment company.  Dana has been active in the Omaha community through such organizations as Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), Aksarben Future Trust (and Aksarben Village), Knights of Aksarben Foundation, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Community Foundation, Robert Daugherty Foundation, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Ronald McDonald House, Nebraska Innovation Campus – University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and 75 North, an organization dedicated to revitalizing North Omaha.

Mark Hasebroock, Class of 1978


Mark Hasebroock is the definition of visionary businessman.  Four of his self-founded enterprises have blossomed into thriving companies, several of which are household names.  Upon graduating from Westside High, Mark received his B.A. from the University of Nebraska, and his M.B.A. from Creighton University.  He became Managing Director at investment banking firm McCarthy & Co.  Mark founded Omaha-based, one of the nation’s largest online retailers of home furnishings.  He also cofounded, Interface Web School and StraightShot.  Mark founded Dundee Venture Capital in 2010, investing in at least 32 seed stage, growth companies in Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago and Boulder.  His vision and investment sense have not only created $20 million plus in funds, he has helped countless Midwest businesses achieve success.  Mark and his wife Jane raised their eight children (ages 14-30) right here in Omaha.

Suzanne Hutchinson Verma, Class of 1995


Suzanne ‘Suzi’ Hutchinson Verma, MAMS, CCA is an internationally respected leader in Anaplastology who began her education with Westside Community Schools.  Suzanne provides facial prosthetic reconstruction to patients with disfigurements due to cancer, trauma and birth defects.  Clinical training throughout her career has taken her around the world, at times, doing her work pro-bono because of her passion to improve lives.  Suzanne’s research has led to global advances; she has been internationally published and is sought to speak on a regular basis.  She also serves as President for the International Anaplastology Association, as well as Director on the Board for the World Coalition of Anaplastology.  Suzanne is currently based in Dallas where she works as a Certified Clinical Anaplastologist with the Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics and is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry.  Suzanne, an Iowa State University grad, also serves on the ISU Advisory Board and was recognized in 2015 with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.  Suzanne and her husband, Amit, have three young girls.

Governor Pete Ricketts, Class of 1982


Governor Pete Ricketts is a Westside alum who has risen to the top in both business and politics.  Ricketts obtained his Bachelors degree and MBA from the University of Chicago, then returned to Omaha to work at Union Pacific and his family’s business.  As that operation became globally known as Ameritrade, Ricketts held several leadership roles including President and Chief Operating Officer, as well as serving on the TD Ameritrade Board of Directors.  Ricketts is also the founder of Drakon, LLC, supporting local entrepreneurs and startup companies, and serves as a Director for the Chicago Cubs.  His desire to give back to the community where he grew up has led Ricketts to several philanthropies; he is Director for both the Children’s Scholarship Fund Foundation and Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation, and an active member of the Catholic Church and associated groups.  Nebraska voters elected Ricketts the state’s 40th Governor in 2014.  When not in Lincoln, Governor Ricketts and his wife, Susanne Shore, live in Omaha with their three children.

Mike Saklar, Class of 1964


Stan ‘Mike’ Saklar truly embodies the spirit of service we foster at Westside Community Schools.  Since graduating from Westside High, Mike has become a respected ambassador for tens of thousands of homeless men, women and children in our city.  He has devoted the last four decades of his life to service through the City of Omaha Planning Department and as the Executive Director of the Siena/Francis House. Without the assistance of any national organization, Mike has increased the SFH operating budget from $750,000 to $3.2 million; in 2013 alone, SFH provided 420,000 meals.  That same year, Mike actively helped 244 homeless families find stable, permanent housing.  He has also founded or volunteered with numerous civic organizations including Charles Drew Community Health Center, Mayor’s Fair Housing Advisory Group, and the Omaha Gladiators Athletic Association.  Mike received Creighton University’s Martin Luther King Jr Legacy Award in 2010, and the 2013 Horace Award from Miracles Treatment Center.  He is a US Army veteran, a mentor to Asian-American student immigrants, and a father and grandfather to a new generation of Westside students.

William Trowbridge, Class of 1959


William ‘Bill’ Trowbridge was a standout athlete to his classmates at Westside High School.  To the rest of the country, he is a Poet Laureate with incomparable literary talent.  Upon graduation, William earned Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University.  He has successfully published nine works, housed in the Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln alongside Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz.  His 435 poems have been featured in more than 30 anthologies, textbooks and periodicals and his work has netted awards including an Academy of Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from multiple institutions.  William is also a nationally sought out speaker and has accepted invitations to more than 130 events.  He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University where he spent nearly 30 years, and currently teaches in the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA in writing program.  William has three children and three grandchildren; he and his wife, Sue, live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Lighthouse Leaders

Chrisi and John Hughes

Chrisi John Hughes

Chrisi and John Hughes moved to the District in 1997 before their oldest daughter was about to begin school.  As a public school teacher, Chrisi knew that Westside was the best place for her children to receive a big-time education in a small school atmosphere.  She immediately chaired the District census for Swanson Elementary and the couple were active in improving Swanson Park and Arboretum.  Chrisi spent the next 18 years as a school volunteer at Swanson Elementary, Westside Middle and Westside High School.  She was an active member of Volunteer Council from 2002 to 2012, serving as Vice-President, President and Advisor.  Chrisi and John have been a part of everything from classroom assistance to holiday parties, from teacher luncheons to coaching, from school improvement project to music programs, from VIVI to fundraising.  The Hughes’ are also  fervent supporters of the Westside Foundation, co-chairing the campaign for the Westside Bond Initiative now funding massive and much needed renovations to District facilities. John served on the Facilities Task Force and is currently Chairman of the Bond Oversight Committee. The Hughes’ daughters, Molly and Kate, are both Westside graduates and are currently attending UNL.

Jackie and Terry Kroeger

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Jackie and Terry Kroeger are incomparable advocates and supporters of some of the most successful programs across Westside Community Schools.  As their three daughters took part in activities in our District, the Kroegers were often in the wings fundraising, organizing and donating to make these programs possible for countless children and families.  For years they were active parents at Swanson Elementary, chairing events and volunteering in the classroom.  Jackie spent years as a volleyball coach as Terry coached girls’ and boys’ youth basketball. Jackie and Terry also served as Swim Team Parent Organization co-presidents, chairs, and poolside volunteers.  The Kroegers support for the arts at Westside High School is simply astonishing; they have held multiple leadership roles with the Vocal Music Parents Association and Warrior Theatre, and among their achievements, revived the Rising Stars Show Choir camp to share a love of music with elementary school students while raising money for Westside’s vocal music programs.  The Kroegers have made generous donations to numerous District projects including performing arts upgrades and Champions Plaza. Jackie is now mentoring with Hillside’s TeamMates program; Terry serves on the executive committee of the Westside Community Foundation while also bringing in Westside students to shadow reporters at the Omaha World Herald.

For information about the 2016 Lighthouse Leader Celebration Gala including ticket availability, please contact Cristina Drelicharz at

ELEMENTARY | Start 8:40 - Dismiss 3:30 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 3:00 )
MIDDLE SCHOOL | Start 8:00 - Dismiss 3:15 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 2:44 )
HIGHSCHOOL | Start 8:00 - Dismiss 3:10 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 2:50 )