Rich Beran is settling in to his new role at Gretna Public Schools.

Beran, who served as GPS assistant superintendent for 20 years, took over as superintendent July 1 after Kevin Riley’s retirement.

“We just hope to continue the successes we’ve had in the past and hopefully add to it,” he said. “We have great teachers and great parents and that hasn’t changed.”

Beran has spent 24 years with Gretna Public Schools, 20 of those as assistant superintendent and three as a teacher.

He got his start in education through a love of history, which led him to the University of Nebraska.

In 1981, he landed a teaching job in Lexington, Neb., going on to teach at Bergan Catholic School in Fremont, Neb., and Gretna Public Schools. He served as a principal in Albion, Neb., before returning to Gretna as assistant superintendent.

“Once I did some student practicum things is when I fell in love with teaching, as well as coaching,” Beran said.

“Great coaches make great teachers. It really goes hand in hand.”

It’s been a busy start for Beran, between getting ready for the 2019–20 school year and keeping up with the district’s numerous building projects in progress.

Fifty-three teachers are new to the district this year, the highest number added in one year in Gretna history.

Gretna Elementary School is ready to occupy after new lighting and HVAC updates. The building is more colorful, the windows more efficient and storage space has been added to the classrooms, among other things.

The portable classrooms are also being replaced at Gretna Elementary, though the school year will begin without those. They are expected to be ready over Labor Day weekend.

With the turf and additions to the Gretna High School football field and stadium, about half of the back parking lot is torn up, making parking a premium at GHS.

The turf is expected to go in quickly, though concessions, press box and a second bathroom are expected to be completed closer to the first home game.

A sixth elementary school in under construction and an expansion of the current bus barn is also getting started.

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