Board History

Nebraska’s State Colleges were established in 1867, when Nebraska became a state and Peru State College became Nebraska’s first public postsecondary institution. The Legislature provided for three more teacher education schools (normal schools) at Kearney in 1903, Wayne in 1910 and Chadron in 1911. In 1963, the Legislature officially designated these schools as Chadron State College, Peru State College and Wayne State College. Kearney State College became part of the University of Nebraska system on July 1, 1991.

The Board had its beginnings in an 1867 law. A 1909 act, later declared unconstitutional, created the Normal Board of Education. Through a 1921 constitutional amendment, normal school government was vested in a seven-member board called the Board of Education of State Normal Schools. Normal schools were renamed state schools by the 1936 Legislature. The board's name was changed to its current name in 1969. Later that year, the Legislature made the board a public corporation so it could issue bonds to build dormitories and other student service buildings.

The board has seven members, six of whom are appointed by the governor to six-year terms with legislative approval. The commissioner of education serves as an ex-officio member. The governor also appoints annually a non-voting student board member from each of the state colleges.

The Board of Trustees hold public meetings five to eight times a year.

Powers of the Board include but are not limited to the following:

  • Approves salary and benefits for all system employees
  • Reviews instructional courses and programs offered by the colleges, both on- and off-campus
  • Establishes system-wide tuition and fees annually
  • Inspects the physical properties of the state colleges to assure they are maintained in good repair and are accessible
  • Approves degrees awarded by colleges

Board Members

Gary BieganskiGary Bieganski - Chair

706 Bordeaux Road, Chadron, NE  69337  (308) 432-5201

Trustee BIeganski is president emeritus of the Community Hospital in McCook. He has served on numerous boards throughout the state. Trustee Bieganski was appointed to the Board in May of 2006 to complete the term vacated by Steve Lewis. He is a graduate of Chadron State College.

Jess Zeiss - Vice Chair

Office: 1620 Dodge Street, #1104, Omaha, NE  68197  (402) 602-7483

Trustee Zeiss is managing director at First National Capital Markets. He is a graduate of Doane College and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Trustee Zeiss was appointed in February 2014 to complete the term vacated by William Roskens.

John Chaney

2929 California Plaza, Apt. 3166, Omaha, NE 68131  (402) 274-7661

Trustee Chaney is retired CEO of Auburn State Bank.  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin.  Trustee Chaney was appointed to the Board in January 2012.

Bob Engles

Office: 913 Central Avenue, Auburn, NE  68305  (402) 274-5100

Trustee Engles is owner of Engles Agency in Auburn, NE.  He was appointed to complete the term vacated by Floyd Vrtiska in March of 2011 and reappointed in January 2012.  Trustee Engles is a graduate of Peru State College.

Carter "Cap" Peterson

Office: Northeast NE Insurance Agency Inc., PO Box 100, Wayne, NE  68787  (402) 375-2696

Trustee Peterson is owner of Northeast NE Insurance Agency, Inc. and Antiques on Main in Wayne.  Trustee Peterson is a graduate of Wayne State College and a former adjunct instructor. He was appointed to the Board in January of 2005.


Marjean Terrell

(Appointed, but not yet confirmed)

4412 436th Trail, Hay Springs, NE 69347  (308) 232-4408

Trustee Terrell is the co-owner and operator of their family farm and ranch. She has served on various boards including the Chadron State Foundation, the Northwest Rural Public Power District, the Western Nebraska Community College Board of Governors, and many other local and county boards and organizations. Marjean worked as a medical technologist and was an adjunct faculty member at Chadron State for several years. She was appointed to the Board in February of 2020.

Matt Blomstedt

Office: 301 Centennial Mall South, 6th Floor, Lincoln 68509  (402) 471-5020

Trustee Blomstedt is the State Commissioner of Education. As Commissioner of Education, Dr. Blomstedt is an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees.

Konery Klueber
Chadron State College Student Trustee

Klueber, a senior at Chadron State College, is earning a degree in justice studies and a minor in military science.  Konery is the Student Senate vice president, president of War Eagles Club, member of the Blue Key Honor Society, student ambassador, and an Eagle Mentor. 

Tyler Harms
Peru State College Student Trustee

Harms, a junior double majoring in marketing and business management. Tyler is the Student Senate president, resident assistant, and a member of Phi Beta Lambda.  

Amanda Jaixen
Wayne State College Student Trustee

Jaixen, a junior at Wayne State College, is majoring in family and consumer science education with a coaching endorsement. Amanda is a leadership scholar, resident assistant, food pantry volunteer coordinator, and WALK member.  

2019-2020 Board Meeting Schedule

Board of Trustees Meeting


Wayne State College

Schedule for the Day (Central Time): TBD

Board of Trustees Meeting


Lincoln, Nebraska

Schedule for the Day (Central Time): TBD

Board of Trustees Meeting


Peru State College

Schedule for the Day (Central Time): TBD

Board of Trustees Meeting


Lincoln, NE

Schedule for the Day (Central Time): TBD