Four candidates advance to May Board of Education election
Sean Conway, Doug Krenzer, Steven Taylor and Meagan Van Gelder have been selected by District 66 voters as the four candidates who will advance to the May election for the Westside Board of Education. All four took part in a public forum, hosted by the WEA, on Tuesday, April 17th at 7:00pm at Westside Middle School. The forum is available for viewing via Facebook Live on the Westside Community Schools Facebook page. CLICK HERE.
Eight candidates spoke at the 2018 Westside Caucus: Conway, Tyler Gloe, Krenzer, Jill Novotny, Taylor and Van Gelder submitted letters of intent and appeared on the Caucus ballot, and Edgar Hicks and Richard Onken announced their candidacy at the Caucus and were write-in candidates.
Voting took place throughout the day at Westside High School, and after speeches at the Caucus Thursday evening. Several hundred District 66 residents voted and attended the Caucus.
The names of the four candidates selected by voters today 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.
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.”
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.”
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 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 a graduate of Westside and has two children in District 66. She is an educator at UNO and is 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 photos of the candidates and interview requests, please contact Director of Communications & Engagement Brandi Petersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 402-390-2131.