A lot of people have been talking about Mike Lucas lately.

It has been more than a week since Lucas, 46, was named the next superintendent of Westside Community Schools. In that time, Lucas said he has been humbled by well wishes, thanks and praise.

At times, it has all felt a little awkward.

“It’s not about me,” Lucas said in an interview with The World-Herald.

Lucas is quick to say that as superintendent of York Public Schools since 2009, he has been given too much credit for the district’s success. In an interview with the York News-Times about his departure, Lucas praised teachers, coaches, nurses, bus drivers and janitors.

“YOU are the reason for York’s success and that will continue for next year and into the future,” Lucas told the paper.

In July, Lucas will replace outgoing Westside Superintendent Blane McCann, who is retiring after leading the district for seven years. The Westside school board unanimously selected Lucas after two rounds of interviews.

Lucas told The World-Herald that the district’s reputation made him take note when McCann announced his retirement.

“Westside is simply known for being an excellent school district that thrives on innovation and community,” Lucas said.

First, however, Lucas has to finish the school year in York and make sure the district is ready for next year and beyond. Lucas said McCann must do the same.

Lucas said he plans to use vacation days to come to Omaha and work on transition plans.

Lucas became a principal at age 25 and a superintendent by age 30. He was superintendent of Franklin (Nebraska) Public Schools from 2003 to 2009.

Lucas said he believes that a superintendent works for others. He said he plans to be accessible to parents, students and community members. He also has said he thinks a superintendent must be a community leader.

Last week, before voting to make Lucas the district’s next superintendent, Westside school board members said they admired his student-first philosophy, tireless energy and ability to explain complex issues in a way everyone can understand.

Adam Yale, the board vice president, said it was obvious that Lucas had forged strong community ties even while making tough decisions.

Dana Blakely, the board president, said Lucas has been a strong voice for public education in the Legislature and has proven to be an advocate for public schools.

“His personality is infectious,” Blakely said. “You still can hear the teacher in him as well.”

During his time in York, Lucas was vocal about school funding issues and what he said is the state’s overreliance on local property taxes to fund schools. He has testified before lawmakers in Lincoln about the issue and wrote editorials that were published in The World-Herald.

He also helped form coalitions of school districts and agriculture groups with similar concerns about property taxes.

While in Franklin, Lucas helped form a coalition of stakeholders in the Republican River Basin as Nebraska tried to resolve a legal fight with Kansas over use of the river’s water.

“I became a lot more involved legislatively than I ever intended and more than I wanted to be, but that’s what my school districts needed,” Lucas said during one of his public interviews with the Westside school board.

The legislative strategy and needs in Westside obviously are different from those in York and Franklin. Lucas said he would adapt to the district’s needs.

Lucas is active on Twitter and held community coffees in York to try to get people excited and engaged with what’s going on in the district — even retired people who don’t have children going through the school system.

Taxpayers, Lucas said, should know how the district handles its budget.

“You want people to feel proud about how that money is being used,” Lucas said.

Originally from Florida, Lucas told the school board during the interview process that one of his weaknesses is being a Florida State fan.

Lucas met his wife, Liesl Lucas, at Benedictine College in Kansas. Liesl Lucas is a native of Omaha. The couple have four children.

The school board still has to vote on a contract for Lucas. The contract will include salary and benefits.