Six candidates running for Board of Education
The 2018 Caucus will be held Thursday, February 1, 2018, at Westside High School, 8701 Pacific St. Voter sign-in begins at 6 p.m. and the Caucus will begin at 7 p.m.
The Caucus is held to select four candidates for two positions on the Westside Community Schools Board of Education. The names of four persons who receive the most votes at the Caucus will be placed on the ballot at the statewide primary election on May 15, 2018. The two candidates receiving the most votes on May 15th are elected to the Board of Education.
The following six individuals submitted letters of intent by the publicized December 29, 2017 deadline: Sean Conway, Tyler Gloe, Doug Krenzer, Jill Novotny, Steven Taylor, and Meagan Van Gelder. These candidates will be included in pre-Caucus press releases and events, and their names will be pre-printed on the Caucus ballot. Those who did not submit a letter of intent by the deadline must proceed through the nomination process at the Caucus (See Caucus Rules).
Sean Conway is an attorney currently practicing civil and criminal law. An Omaha native, he is the former chairman of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, serving as a commissioner from 2012 until 2017. Conway also serves on the Executive Committee of the Omaha Bar Association, and is on the UNMC Chancellor’s Board of Counselors. His wife, Jill, is a lifelong Westside resident; two of the couple’s three daughters attend Loveland Elementary. Conway lists community engagement, academic performance, and financial stewardship among his top priorities if elected to the Board of Education, saying: “As a parent of school-aged kids, I care deeply about the future of the Westside school district. As a school board member, I will work to ensure Westside continues to be a leader in academics and community involvement.”
Tyler Gloe is a financial industry consultant and Omaha native. The son of a former special education para for Millard Public Schools, Gloe notes his passion for excellence in education and community service. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus at St. John Vianney Catholic Church and also volunteers at the Open Door Mission. Gloe’s key priorities if elected to the Board of Education include preparing children for the future, using resources responsibly, and promoting education. From Gloe: “My main goal is to be innovative in education and make sure the children in this community are prepared for success in whatever they want to do. Our community is starving for young, talented professionals. Our thriving city has a worker shortage in several major fields, including high paying technology and medical positions. We should be focused on filling Omaha’s current and future employment needs from within as our local community continues to innovate and grow in these fields.”
Doug Krenzer is an Omaha attorney, appointed to the Westside Board of Education in the fall of 2016. Krenzer also served on the District Facilities Task Force, and is a parent of three children currently enrolled in Westside schools. From Krenzer: “I am running to keep my seat on the Board of Education because that was my commitment to my fellow board members when I applied for the vacancy in 2016. The board was not looking for a placeholder, but someone who could step in and contribute right away, and then use that experience to continue to serve the district. I believe I have done that. During my first year on the board, we faced challenges and celebrated successes. Just a few of the highlights were the opening of the new Oakdale, the construction and renovations at other buildings, passage of the levy override, the National Blue Ribbon School designation for Paddock Road, and the opportunity to work with Hillside staff and parents on Principal Bailey’s advisory committee. During my next term, I will continue to work on improvement in student learning and achievement, attracting and retaining the metro’s best teachers, and ensuring that our district remains an independent leader in innovative education. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve Westside Community Schools on the Board of Education.”
Jill Novotny is a teacher with ties to both Westside Community Schools and Omaha Public Schools. Currently a Science teacher at Omaha Northwest Magnet High School, she stresses her assets in leadership, negotiation, and listening to best support teachers. Novotny spent time student teaching at Westside Middle School, where she worked with students from multiple cultural backgrounds. Novotny, who previously served on the Fairacres Condominium Association, currently lives in the Oakdale Neighborhood; her child will begin attending District 66 in the fall. From Novotny: “I firmly believe it takes a village to raise a child. I want to ensure the teachers are supported, and their voices heard via my position on the board. A school board is there to support the school, and the best way to do that is to support the teachers. They are on the front lines of our children’s education. I also know that the best people to serve are those who practice their craft. My focus will be on how the board will support the staff and kids of District 66.”
Steven Taylor is a Westside graduate and the CEO of Anvilhead Studios, Inc., a video game company located in Aksarben Village. Proficient in coding and web development, he has assisted local businesses in launching web-products. Taylor attended Oakdale Elementary; he, his wife and children currently live in the Sunset Hills area. Taylor wants to focus on paths that lie ahead for each student post graduation, and would like to see programs that develop real work work experiences. From Taylor: “My goals for Westside School Board will include: being fiscally responsible with District 66 while making sure it’s path forward is heard for the success of it’s staff, teachers and students; further developing Coding classes and complete computer competency curriculum for every grade; creating a multiyear Fiscal & Adult Responsibilities Curriculum; expanding on physical and mental well being of each student through exercise and introspective activities; and developing a Mentoring & Intern Program with local companies.”
Meagan Van Gelder is the Academic Program Coordinator for the School of Public Administration at UNO, and the current President of the Westside Alumni Association. A former elementary school teacher, she is also a room parent at Oakdale Elementary and serves as co-chair on the district’s Teaching & Learning Key Communicator Group. Van Gelder earned her Ed.D in Education Administration in 2001, and notes her understanding of all aspects within a school district from administrative roles to teaching in the classroom. From Van Gelder: “I would like to set goals that are well defined for student achievement and for excellent instruction. My hope is that as a board member efforts are spent on developing policies that strive for high student achievement and offer the best post-high school planning for our students. As a board member, I would like to focus on policies that allow Westside Community Schools to attract and retain the best teachers for our students.”
For more information about the 2018 Westside Board of Education Caucus, CLICK HERE.