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.

Michelle Suarez

2427 Woodsdale Boulevard, Lincoln, NE  68502  (402) 432-2508

Trustee Suarez is an Early Childhood Developer for Prosper Lincoln. She holds a bachelor of science degree and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Trustee Suarez was appointed to complete the term vacated by Willa Kosman in December of 2007.

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.

Sam Klammer
Chadron State College Student Trustee

Klammer, a senior at Chadron State College, is earning a degree in business administration with an accounting option and a minor in military science and leadership.  He is the president of War Eagles Club, member of the Army ROTC, Blue Key Honor Society, and participates in Intramural sports. 

Kayla Myers
Peru State College Student Trustee

Myers, a senior majoring in math and secondary math education and minoring in business administration and accounting. Myers is also pursuing an endorsement in coaching and is part of the honors program at Peru State College. She is involved in the Student Senate, Campus Activities Board, Peru Student Education Association, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Alpha Theta and is a peer tutor in mathematics. 

Ashley VanMeeteren
Wayne State College Student Trustee

VanMeeteren, a senior at Wayne State College, is majoring in secondary social science education with a minor in pre-law and coaching. She has served as the student senate vice president, student chair for Academic policy committee, chair of student judicial board, and Pi Gamma Mu vice president. 

2019-2020 Board Meeting Schedule

  • September Board of Trustees Meeting - CHADRON
    September 12, 2019 (Thursday)
    Chadron State College
    View Board Materials
    November 14, 2019 (Thursday)
    Wayne State College
    January 14, 2020 (Tuesday)
    Lincoln, NE
    April 23-24, 2020 (Thursday – Friday)
    Peru State College, Peru, NE
    June 18, 2020 (Thursday)
    Lincoln, NE