Nebraska State Board of Education

Nebraska State Board of Education Races

The Nebraska State Board of Education holds elections every four years for its board members.  Each board member represents one of eight state districts.  Board members vote on educational policies ranging from proctoring statewide tests online to requiring the pledge of allegiance in classrooms.  Though reimbursed for expenses, board members aren’t paid.  Four of the eight districts this year will hold elections.


District 1: Lillie Larsen vs. Bob Van Valkenburg

Lillie Larsen, Democrat

Larsen website

Bio: Larsen previously served on the Lincoln Board of Education from 1999-2011, holding the positions of president and vice-president.  She holds a bachelor’s in secondary education from the University of Kansas and a master’s in elementary education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  In 2011 she received Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler’s City of Lincoln Award.

Bob Van Valkenburg, Republican

Van Valkenburg website

Van Valkenburg’s Facebook page

Bio: A retired senior military officer, Van Valkenburg ran for Congress in 2004 and the Lancaster County Board in 1996.  He has a bachelor’s in chemistry and communications from Oklahoma State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Larsen beats Van Valkeburg in primary, both advance to general election

Lincoln Journal Star reports: Larsen won nearly 70 percent of the vote

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Van Valkenburg runs for Board of Education

Lincoln Journal Star reports: Businessman Bob Van Valkenburg opposes Lillie Larsen in election

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Omaha World-Herald endorses Larsen and Wise

Omaha World-Herald reports: Larsen and Wise understand issues, relate well to children

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District 2: Mark Quandahl

Mark Quandahl, Republican

Quandahl’s Facebook page

Bio: Incumbent Quandahl runs unopposed in the 2nd District.  An Omaha attorney, Quandahl served as a Nebraska state senator (1999-2005), chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party (2005-2009), and has held his current position in the 2nd District since 2009.


District 3: Tom Schommer vs. Rachel Wise

Tom Schommer, Republican

Schommer website

Bio: Schommer runs a telecommunications business, Telebeep Wireless, out of Norfolk.  He has an associate’s degree  in electronic engineering from Chemeketa Community College.  He has held many public positions in Norfolk and Madison County.

Rachel Wise, Democrat

Wise website

Wise’s Facebook page

Bio: Wise holds a bachelor’s, master’s and a doctorate degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She is a retired educator.  Most recently she served as chief operating officer of Building Bright Futures.

Related News

Schommer runs against Wise for state board

Norfolk Daily News reports: Candidates differ on top issues

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Wise enters board of education election

Oakland Independent reports: Wise concerned about No Child Left Behind

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Schommer and Wise seek board seat

Columbus Telegram reports:  Both candidates seek seat for District 3

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District 4: Rebecca Valdez

Rebecca Valdez, Democrat

Bio: Like Quandahl, Valdez is an incumbent running unopposed.  Valdez is a former teacher.


Related News

4 district openings, two run unopposed

Omaha World-Herald reports: The Board of Education will have new faces after the election.

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