Hastings commissioner elected new CCPE chair

The Coordinating Commission recently elected Colleen Adam of Hastings as its  new chair and Carol Zink of Lincoln as its vice chair for the upcoming year.

Adam represents District 5 and has been a member of the Commission since 2003. Zink is an at-large commissioner and has been with the Commission since 2007.

The Coordinating Commission is governed by an 11-member board of commissioners. Six of the commissioners represent each of the state’s supreme court judicial districts; five are at-large members. Commissioners serve six-year terms.

Governor appoints two new commissioners, reappoints two incumbents

Gov. Dave Heineman has appointed two new commissioners to the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.

Lori Warner of South Sioux City will represent District 3, which covers northeast Nebraska. Dwayne Probyn of Papillion will be an at-large member of the commission.

Warner is president and CEO of the South Sioux City Area Chamber of Commerce. She held the same position with the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce from 2005 to 2012. Warner earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Peru State College.

Probyn is executive director of the Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition’s “Dream !t Do !t” initiative. Prior to that, he was director of workforce development at Metro Community College in Omaha. Probyn earned his Bachelor of Science in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) and his Master of Science in STEM from Bradley University.

The commission is governed by an 11-member board of commissioners. Six commissioners represent each of the state’s supreme court districts and five serve as at-large members. Commissioners serve six-year terms.

Gov. Heineman also reappointed two current members of the commission: Mary Lauritzen, an at-large member from West Point who has served on the commission since 2000; and Scott Wilson of Papillion, who has represented District 4 on the commission since 2009.

The Legislature still must confirm the governor’s appointments. Warner, Probyn, Lauritzen and Wilson will appear before the Legislature’s Education Commission Feb. 10 for their appointment hearings.

The commission’s District 1 seat, which covers Lancaster and Seward Counties, remains vacant after former Commissioner Riko Bishop was appointed to the Nebraska Court of Appeals, 1st District.

Those interested in serving as a member of the commission from District 1 can apply at the governor’s website.

CCPE hires new finance and administrative officer

Gary Timm

Gary Timm

Gary Timm has joined the Coordinating Commission as its new chief finance and administrative officer. Timm comes to the Commission from the Department of Insurance, where he worked for 15 years. Prior to that, Timm worked for the State Auditor’s Office.

Timm earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Chadron State College. He is both a Certified Public Account (CPA) and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).

Timm fills the vacancy left by Dr. Carna Pfeil, who took over as the Commission’s interim executive director in September. Pfeil was associate director for finance and administration and has been with the Commission for more than 20 years.

Pfeil took over for Dr. Marshall Hill, who resigned in August to accept a position in Colorado.

Pfeil will serve as interim executive director until the Commission hires a replacement for Hill. The Commission has submitted a budget deficit request to help pay for the hiring process, which will include a national search. The Legislature and Governor will consider the request during the current Legislative session, which began Jan. 8.

Pre-meeting work session cancelled

Due to inclement weather in parts of the state, the Coordinating Commission has cancelled its work session scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Lincoln. The Commission’s regular meeting is still scheduled for Dec. 5.

Heese, Schiltz join CCPE research team

The Coordinating Commission recently welcomed two new employees to its research staff.

Jill Heese is the commission’s new research coordinator. She comes to the commission from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she was a survey data analyst. Heese earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and master’s degree in Survey Research and Methodology, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

James Schiltz is the commission’s new data analyst. Prior to joining the commission, Schiltz worked at Iowa State University, where he was a research assistant for the Research Institute for Studies in Education. Schiltz earned his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Iowa and master’s degree in History from Iowa State.

Heese and Schiltz are part of a three-person team at the commission that maintains extensive databases and regularly produces comprehensive reports on higher education issues in Nebraska. The coordinating commission is the only entity in the state that conducts such research.

Morrow part of group invited to White House to discuss financial aid issues

The Coordinating Commission’s Ritchie Morrow recently met with White House officials in Washington, D.C., to discuss a variety of student financial aid issues, including those that may result from the potential re-authorization of the federal Higher Education Act.

Morrow, the commission’s financial aid coordinator, was part of a group representing the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP). Morrow is currently serving as president of NASSGAP, which funded the trip to D.C.

Morrow and the NASSGAP group met with James Kvaal, the deputy director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, and Ajita Talwalker, considered one of the White House’s top higher-education advisors.

Morrow administers the Access College Early scholarship program and the Nebraska Opportunity Grant. Combined, the two programs award more than $15 million annually to Nebraska students.

Bishop appointed to Court of Appeals, resigns commissioner post

Coordinating Commission Vice Chair Riko Bishop of Lincoln has been appointed to the Nebraska Court of Appeals, 1st District. As a result, Bishop resigned as a commissioner, a post she held since 2007.

Bishop most recently worked as an attorney with Perry, Guthery, Haase & Gessford, P.C., L.L.O. Her work has focused on general civil litigation and appeals, with the last five years focused primarily on domestic matters, worker’s compensation, and school law issues.

Bishop represented the 1st District as a member of the coordinating commission. The 1st District covers Lancaster and Seward Counties. Commission members are appointed by the governor and approved by the legislature.

Clark Anderson of Lincoln has replaced Bishop as vice chair of the commission.