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.
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
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.
John Chaney - Chair
Appointed: 2013; Reappointed: 2019 - 2025
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 2013.
Bob Engles - Vice Chair and Fiscal, Facilities & Audit Committee
Appointed: 2011; Reappointed: 2013, 2019 - 2025
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 2013. Trustee Engles is a graduate of Peru State College.
Carter "Cap" Peterson - Student Affairs, Enrollment & Marketing Committee
Appointed: 2005; Reappointed: 2011, 2017- 2023
Office: Northeast NE Insurance Agency Inc., PO Box 100, Wayne, NE 68787 (402) 375-2696
Trustee Peterson is the 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.
Danny Reynaga - Student Affairs Committee Chair
1826 Center Avenue, Mitchell, NE 69357 (308) 760-7327
Trustee Reynaga is an attorney at Legal Aid of Nebraska in Alliance. He has served as a Student Trustee while attending Chadron State College. He is a graduate of Chadron State College.
Marjean Terrell - Academic & Personnel Committee Chair
Appointed: 2020; Reappointed 2021-2027
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 to complete the term of Michelle Suarez.
Jess Zeiss - Fiscal, Facilities, and Audit Committee Chair
Appointed: 2014; Reappointed: 2021-2027
Office: 1620 Dodge Street, #1104, Omaha, NE 68197 (402) 602-7483
Trustee Zeiss is the 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.
Brian Maher - Academic & Personnel Committee
Office: 500 S. 84th St., 2nd Floor, Lincoln, NE 68510-2611 (402) 471-2295
Trustee Maher is the Commissioner of Education at the Nebraska Department of Education.
Board Meeting Schedule
The Board of Trustees holds public meetings five to eight times a year.