Skip Bailey

Years PLCS District Resident: 13 years total (2002-2007, 2010-present)

Age: 50

Occupation/Employer: Instructor/Flight Training Coordinator at the UNO Aviation Institute.

Elected Offices Held: None

1. Tell us something about yourself (example: family, church, organizations, volunteering, military service, etc).

I was a pilot in the Air Force and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in May of 2016 after 25 years of service. I served 12 of those years at Offutt Air Force Base. Currently I am the Flight Training Coordinator for the University of Nebraska Omaha Aviation Institute. I instruct pilot certification courses, and mentor and supervise the flight students. My wife Sherry and I have been married for almost 27 years. Sherry is a second grade teacher at Carriage Hill Elementary in Papillion and is starting her ninth year teaching in the Papillion-La Vista school district. We have three children. Our twins, Nick and Beth, graduated from Papillion-La Vista South and Tori is a senior at P-LV South.

2. What will be your top priority as the district moves forward with projects included in its recently passed bond?

My top priority has to be the growth of the Papillion-La Vista School district and what must be done to adequately meet the needs of our growing student population without compromising the high standards expected of current students and staff. The school board must use the money from the bond wisely to maintain and upgrade our current buildings as well as look into the future and add buildings where we foresee the greatest growth in our district. We must always be thinking into the future to ensure our teachers have the most up to date textbooks and materials to give our students the best education and meet their needs after high school.

3. Are you in favor or opposed to the district continuing to expand its boundary to the south?

I am in favor of expanding our boundary to the south. We must keep looking to the future. Papillion will continue to grow to the south and west and the number of students in the school district will also grow. The school board must look three to five years into the future and begin planning for additional buildings which will require additional teachers and staff. The process needs to include discussions with our neighboring school districts. We need to keep in mind that our job as school board members is to do what is best for the students, not just those in the Papillion-La Vista School District, but also those in our neighboring districts.

4. Why should voters elect you to the Papillion La Vista Community Schools Board of Education?

Voters should elect me to the Papillion-La Vista School Board because of my commitment to service. I spent most of my adult life serving my country as an officer in the Air Force. As I transition to civilian life after my retirement, I want to continue to serve, but this time as a civic leader “in my own backyard.” My wife works in the school district and our children attended school in the district I want to continue the tradition of great schools in Papillion and serving on the Papillion-La Vista School Board gives me an opportunity to fulfill that goal. Please visit my website at skipforschoolboard.com for more information.

Brian M. Lodes

Years PLCS District Resident: 28

Age: 38

Occupation/Employer: Corporate Controller at NMC Group, Inc.

Elected Offices Held: None

1. Tell us something about yourself (example: family, church, organizations, volunteering, military service, etc).

Brian and his wife, Nicola, are parents of three children. The two older children attend Patriot Elementary. Brian is a proud graduate of the Papillion La Vista Community Schools (G. Stanley Hall, La Vista Middle School, and Papillion La Vista High School). He also has a B.S.B.A in accounting and a M.B.A. from Creighton University. His early career was spent as a CPA and auditor with KPMG and RSM. He now is the Corporate Controller at NMC Group, Inc. He currently serves on the board of the American Lung Association – Nebraska, (Chair 2012-2015), American Lung Association Audit & Risk Committee, CHI Health Foundation, Creighton University Student Life Policy Committee, and Midlands Hospital Charitable Foundation. Brian is also a coach with the Papillion Soccer Club.

2. What will be your top priority as the district moves forward with projects included in its recently passed bond?

Brian’s top priority will be to ensure the funds provided by the bonds are used on the projects and security improvements as indicated in the bond proposal. He will focus on the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers and staff and continued small class sizes. He will use his business expertise in forecasting, planning and analysis to support the superintendent and staff in these matters. The district must remain competitive in salaries and benefits, growth opportunities, and provide the proper technology and learning environments to ensure the retention and recruitment of top professionals and staff.

3. Are you in favor or opposed to the district continuing to expand its boundary to the south?

Brian would support the district continuing to expand its boundary to the south. He would want those in the newly developed areas surrounding the current district lines to have access to the superior educational programs that the district offers.

4. Why should voters elect you to the Papillion La Vista Community Schools Board of Education?

Brian wants to serve on the Board of Education to ensure that future generations of students, which includes his own three children, receive superior educational programs and life development from the Papillion La Vista Community Schools. Growing up in La Vista and now living in Papillion gives Brian a unique perspective of the entire district. His 28-years in the district, experience and background as a CPA and controller would allow him to use an analytical, financial and strategic perspective to help lead the Papillion La Vista Community Schools into the next 10 years and beyond.

Fred Tafoya

Years PLCS District Resident: 46 years

Age: 78

Occupation/Employer: Retired dentist

Elected Offices held: PLCS Board of Education, 1988-96, 1998-2006.

1. Tell us something about yourself (example: family, church, organizations, volunteering, military service, etc).

Retired dentist, recently widowed. I have two children, Carrie and Scott, both are graduates from Papillion La Vista Schools and five grandchildren. I have always been committed to public service. I served as the Chamber of Commerce President, was a charter member of the Lions Club, founding member of PANDA (Papillion Against Narcotics Drugs & Alcohol) and started the Graduate Straight and Post Prom for PLCS. Served 16 years on the PLCS Board.

2. What will be your top priority as the district moves forward with projects included in its recently passed bond?

My top priority is the welfare of all students, academically, physically and mentally.

3. Are you in favor or opposed to the district continuing to expand its boundary to the south?

I commend the School Boards from both districts (PLCS & Springfield Platteview) on the agreement they have in place. The current agreement puts students’ needs first and is fiscally responsible for both districts. I have no plans to make any changes.

4. Why should voters elect you to the Papillion La Vista Community Schools Board of Education?

As a father of graduates, a grandfather of current and future PLCS students and a tax payer, I have a vested interest in the welfare of this District. I have no personal agenda but come to the Board with 16 years of past experience and a commitment to public service. I care about putting the needs of our students and staff first while being fiscally responsible with tax dollars. Just as I have in the past, I will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of all of our students and staff and what is fiscally responsible.

Patrick Vandagriff

Years PLCS District Resident: 4

Age: 38

Occupation/Employer: Intelligence Analyst, United States Air Force.

Elected Offices Held: None

1. Tell us something about yourself (example: family, church, organizations, volunteering, military service, etc).

I am married with two children currently attending Papillion La Vista Schools. My son is a junior at Papillion High School and my daughter is in seventh grade at La Vista Middle School. My wife works as a special education paraprofessional in the district. This past year I have become a baseball umpire, working tournaments around the Omaha area in the spring and summer. I have served in the Air Force for almost 19 years and I am looking forward to retiring from the service in 2019. I enjoy reading, golfing, hunting, and fishing during my free time.

2. What will be your top priority as the district moves forward with projects included in its recently passed bond?

The top priority for the board moving forward should be ensuring that the funds from the recent bond passage are used in the manner that they were presented to the taxpayers. The funds have already helped secure entrances at five elementary schools and purchase land for a new elementary school. The board should keep in mind the student experience as expansion continues and keep Papillion La Vista Community Schools as a destination for parents looking for the best education for their families when moving to the Omaha area. Continued growth of the high school academy and dual-enrollment options should be planned to increase the chance of success for graduating seniors at the college-level and for career planning.

3. Are you in favor or opposed to the district continuing to expand its boundary to the south?

The growth of the district should mirror the growth and annexation of land by the cities of Papillion and La Vista but without infringing upon the Springfield Platteview district. The planned addition of the third high school in the southeast portion of the district matches with the growth of neighborhoods along Capehart Road.

4. Why should voters elect you to the Papillion La Vista Community Schools Board of Education?

With having my wife and two children employed by or attending Papillion La Vista Community Schools, I am in a unique position to hear about their activities on a daily basis. Ensuring that leadership at schools are empowered to make the decisions to best support teachers, support staff, and students at every location will be one of my personal priorities. I would like to explore opportunities to incorporate more technology into the classrooms and position the district to receive additional grants like the recent National Math and Science Initiative received by Bellevue Schools in 2018.

SuAnn Witt

Years PLCS District Resident: 34

Age: 64

Occupation/Employer: State E-rate and Technology Project Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Education.

Elected Offices held: None

1. Tell us something about yourself (example: family, church, organizations, volunteering, military service, etc).

For the past ten years, I have worked at the Nebraska Department of Education where I engage with local, state, and national educators supporting and advancing the needs of public K-12 education. I have worked in education my entire career (over 40 years), not in the classroom, but in supportive and administrative functions. I have a deep affiliation with public education and serving in this role. My husband, Robert and I, have two adopted children who attended the Papillion La Vista schools. For over 30 years, Robert was a volunteer firefighter/paramedic for both Papillion and La Vista, and I am proud of his service to the community. This is my opportunity to serve.

2. What will be your top priority as the district moves forward with projects included in its recently passed bond?

I have two priorities: 1) Resource Management. The community is growing and the district needs to be prepared to meet the challenges of a growing population. Resource management will be critical to making sure the district can accommodate the growth in facilities and staffing to meet this essential need. 2) Advocacy. Policy makers need to understand how education works in Nebraska and the best people to take the message forward are educators. Issues affecting our schools need stakeholder voices to inform state policymakers as decisions about funding and services are legislated.

3. Are you in favor or opposed to the district continuing to expand its boundary to the south?

I am in favor of expanding because we must be prepared to meet the needs of students who will be moving into our community. In a fast growing district, schools can quickly become over-crowded. The Board and District must be mindful of population growth, working together to expand its services and facilities as the area grows. This is essential if we are to keep class size and talented staff in balance to maintain the high standards of the Papillion La Vista Community Schools. This is why resource management is one of my priorities. We must be good stewards of the funding we receive and assure effective and efficient use.

4. Why should voters elect you to the Papillion La Vista Community Schools Board of Education?

Having worked in public education my entire career, I understand it from the building perspective to the administrative perspective. I have experience in due process, in budget and facilities planning, continuous school improvement, and in working with state and federal legislators on behalf of education. These skills, along with my deep commitment to public education, will serve the Papillion La Vista Community students and staff as it continues its purpose “…to prepare every student for a successful transition into the next phase of his/her life.”

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