Westside Wired

Filed under Lance, News

New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

Westside+Community+Schools+Board+members+Treasurer-Elect+Doug+Krenzer%2C+Treasurer+Kris+Karnes%2C+Vice+President+Adam+Yale%2C+President+Dana+Blakely%2C+Secretary+Dr.+Megan+Van+Gelder%2C+and+Director+Beth+Morrissette+conduct+their+first+round+of+interviews+of+the+final+two+superintendent+candidates+on+Tuesday%2C+Jan.+8.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

Westside Community Schools Board members Treasurer-Elect Doug Krenzer, Treasurer Kris Karnes, Vice President Adam Yale, President Dana Blakely, Secretary Dr. Megan Van Gelder, and Director Beth Morrissette conduct their first round of interviews of the final two superintendent candidates on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Westside Community Schools Board members Treasurer-Elect Doug Krenzer, Treasurer Kris Karnes, Vice President Adam Yale, President Dana Blakely, Secretary Dr. Megan Van Gelder, and Director Beth Morrissette conduct their first round of interviews of the final two superintendent candidates on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Westside Community Schools Board members Treasurer-Elect Doug Krenzer, Treasurer Kris Karnes, Vice President Adam Yale, President Dana Blakely, Secretary Dr. Megan Van Gelder, and Director Beth Morrissette conduct their first round of interviews of the final two superintendent candidates on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Westside Community Schools Board members Treasurer-Elect Doug Krenzer, Treasurer Kris Karnes, Vice President Adam Yale, President Dana Blakely, Secretary Dr. Megan Van Gelder, and Director Beth Morrissette conduct their first round of interviews of the final two superintendent candidates on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, the Westside School Board voted unanimously to select Dr. Mike Lucas as the new superintendent. Lucas is currently serving as superintendent of York Public Schools in York, Nebraska.

The process began back in July 2018, after current superintendent Blane McCann announced his resignation in May. Board members Dana Blakely, Adam Yale and Doug Krenzer were appointed to a committee. In August, search firm Ray Associates, was selected to help throughout the process and were hired for the estimated price of $20,300. The search firm reached out to almost 1000 candidates from across the nation. According to Brandi Paul, Director of Communications and Engagement for Westside Community Schools, the firm did background checks, vetted the candidates and helped direct the process.

“They’ve been through it before so they really helped us make it seamless, bring in the good candidates, reminded us to be transparent as possible and really helped us be as fluid as we could possibly make it and and ensure we were getting the best leader for our district,” Paul said.

On Dec. 22, the final four were chosen. Then after the interviews by the board were conducted with each candidate, two were chosen. The two finalists were Lucas and Dr. Melissa Poloncic, superintendent of Douglas County West Community Schools.  

Paul said the process was extensive for those selected as finalists.

“The last two weeks they have been non-stop,” Paul said. “As soon as they were announced as the four finalists they were involved in interviews with the board of education. Those interviews were two hours long. And then once we named the two final finalists, from Thursday about 7:30 in the morning to about 10:00 at night they were going non-stop meeting with our community, touring our schools. Their spouses were out looking at our community and talking with people. Talking with our students, our teachers, our coaches, our administrators. Really getting a feel for  if this is where they want to be, as much as we want them to be here and apply.”

Community involvement was one the key goals for the project from the beginning, and it was Paul’s job to foster communication between the community and the district.

“The board or our advising firm Ray and Associates would give me a directive, ‘we need you to publicize this, we need you to put out this meeting date, we need you to get in touch with these folks or the focus groups or whomever,’” Paul said. “I would put together communication to really just be the connecting thread, the liason, between what our firms and our the board needed and what we needed from these groups or our board or our community.”

Lucas said he had a great experience going through the selection. While he has previous connections to Omaha, the process gave him a chance to get to know Westside better.

“It’s been really a lot of fun to learn more about Westside Community Schools,” Lucas said. “My wife is from Omaha  … so we’ve been around Omaha a lot, but I, since about July, have been learning more about Westside. The process has been amazing. The more and more I learned about Westside the more excited I got.”

The history of the district and unique scheduling were two things Lucas cited as major draws of Westside.

“It’s amazing here and I love the fact that Westside Community Schools was founded back in the 40s under community, innovation and under excellence and that’s what you guys are known for,” Lucas said. “And some of the neat things you have with different scheduling at the high school and those types of things.”

Lucas has been the superintendent in York for 10 years, and before that served as the superintendent of Franklin Public Schools. During his time in York, Lucas said he became very attached to the school district and the community.

“I love York,” Lucas said. “I’ve been there for ten years so I know a lot of the students, my children have gone to York and I have a lot of really strong community and student and staff relationships, and so the biggest challenge has just been telling people you love and you have a lot of great memories with that you’re going to another place. But the excitement and opportunities at Westside have made us excited.”

To Lucas, one of the changes that he is encountaring would be the size of the student population of Westside as a opposed to York, he said. Another change from his previous district is the amount of resources Westside and Omaha has to offer.

“Westside’s about four times bigger than York, which is not intimidating to me at all because when I went to York from Franklin, York was four times bigger than Franklin,” Lucas said. “The other thing would just be the resources available in the Omaha area compared to what we have in York are very exciting to think about as far as expanding and providing opportunities for our students for all the possible business partnerships and corporations sponsorships we could have here in the Metro area.”

Lucas’ main goal is to learn more about the culture of the district before implementing any new changes. He wants to get to know what the community is looking for first, he said.

“I’m hoping to learn a lot my first year,” Lucas said. “I’m not really looking at a lot of changes other than to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm and find out from our teachers and staff and our students what changes they feel like need to be made.”

Lucas said, the superintendent job is about more than just himself. It’s about the community and working together. He plans to embrace this mentality in his new role.

“I believe that being a superintendent and being a leader in general is more of a ‘we’ thing than a ‘me’ thing,” Lucas said. “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me.’”

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writers
Theo Jansen, Lance Managing Editor

Hi my name is Theo Jansen! I am a Managing Editor for Lance this year. I am currently a junior and this is my third year on Lance. If you have any questions...

Maryam Akramova, Lance Managing Editor

Hi my name is Maryam Akramova! I am a Managing Editor for Lance this year. I am currently a junior and this is my third year on Lance. If you have any...

Navigate Left
  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Feature

    Going Home: Freshman Plans to Return to Saudi Arabia

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Follow Your Heart: A Valentine’s Day Comic

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Lance Special Edition: The Sexual Misconduct Issue

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Red Shield receives award for best student section

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Thanksgiving Movies and Shows to be Thankful for

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Lance Issue 2

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    OPINION: Unnecessary Evil; How Effective is the ACT?

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Feature

    Head in the Game: Football Coach Teaches Meditation and Mindfulness

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Super Search: District Begins Search for New Superintendent

  • New Superintendent: “Leadership is about ‘we,’ not ‘me’”

    Lance

    Redrawing the Line: Westside Redraws District Boundaries

Navigate Right
The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.