SD Regents Head Named Nebraska Commissioner Of Education

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Brian Maher

     The Executive Director and CEO of the South Dakota Board of Regents will be Nebraska’s next Commissioner of Education. 

      Dr Brian Maher was named Friday morning by the State Board of Education to succeed Dr Matthew Blomstedt, who resigned in January after 9 years. He will assume his new position this summer.

     Maher is a Nebraska native and holds a bachelor’s degree from what is now Midland University, and masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Nebraska. He was also a teacher, principal, and superintendent in Nebraska for a number of years.

    The State Board of Education interviewed its 3 finalists Thursday. The others were Superintendent Melissa Poloncic of the Douglas County West Schools in suburban Omaha and Fallon, NV, Superintendent and CTE Administrator Dr Summer Stephens – this year’s Nevada Superintendent of the Year.

     The selection of Maher completes a nationwide search process led by search firm McPherson and Jacobson that included staff and stakeholder input and interviews with the 3 finalists. 

     Maher is a Nebraska native who was a K-12 superintendent in the state for 6 years at Kearney and Centennial, and for 5 years with the Sioux Falls School District, South Dakota’s largest – a stint that included the beginning of the pandemic.

     He took over operations of the Board of Regents in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020 and completed a system-wide review of the Regents, which run 6 state colleges and universities plus specialized schools for the blind and the deaf.. 

      Nebraska State College System Chancellor Dr Paul Turman says Maher is an excellent choice as Commissioner, having worked with him when Maher was the Sioux Falls Superintendent.

     Turman was the Regents Vice President for Academic Affairs before becoming chancellor in late 2018 and encouraged Maher to apply when the Regents head position came open.