Name: Patrick McPherson
Years Ralston Public Schools Resident:30
Occupation/Employer: Retired, former Douglas County Election Commissioner, Division Manager for City of Omaha during Daub Administration, President of Bank of Nebraska Omaha, 20 years with Center Bank, Norwest Bank, now Wells Fargo Bank
Elected Offices Held (Include calendar year served):Nebraska State Board of Education, 2014-2018, Papio Natural Resources District: 1978-82.
Tell us something about yourself (example: family, church, organizations, volunteering: military service, etc.):Religion, Catholic, U.S. Army Reserves, Volunteer and Organizations :Nebraska Game and Parks Youth Fishing Instructor Cloisters on the Platte volunteer, Heartland REACT (storm spotter) member,Secretary of the Board, Nebraska Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool (CHIP), Member, Omaha Charter Review Commission, Board Member: Community Health Charities of America (national organization) and member of Affiliate and Membership Committees. Loaned Executive, United Way of the Midlands, Omaha, NE, President, Mid-America (five state) Region Board of Directors, American Diabetes Association, President, Heartland Council Board of Directors, American Diabetes Association, Member of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals; Chairman,Board Member, American Diabetes Association, Nebraska Affiliate, serving on Government Relations, Audit, Finance and Income Development Committees,Downtown Omaha Kiwanis Club, Board Member, American Red Cross Heartland Chapter,Board Member, Project Family, Committee Member, Explorer Scout Career Awareness Program,Board Member, Douglas County Foster Child Review Committee Member, Metropolitan Planning Agency (M.A.P.A.) Council of Officials and Board Member and Treasurer, Greater Omaha Community Action.
2. What are the top two challenges or opportunities Ralston Public Schools should address over the next four years? Safety/Security:
I believe that the district has to address student safety/security issues for its schools and students. Many of the district’s classrooms were designed under previous ‘open’ concepts which are not secure against any intrusions or violence. Schools also need to review entrance/exit issues to assure that unwanted individuals can’t access them. Safety and security also mean adopting policies that best deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues such as bullying and social media.
Ralston students need to have the best access to an education that will help them succeed in their future endeavors whether college or careers. That means providing those college-bound the best possible facilities and teaching staff. That means offering opportunities for dual credit courses, AP classes, etc. For those that don’t choose college, it means providing them career experiences that include mentored opportunities, part-time work opportunities in careers they are interested, appropriate shop type training, utilization of Revision opportunities, etc.
3. What is something the district could improve on and how would you go about doing so?
If the district desires improvement in any area, it needs a strategic plan that drives everything it does. As a Nebraska State Board of Education member I fought for such a plan which we implemented and which actually guided every board meeting. That process will improve every effort of the district. It certainly will guide the district in addressing changing demographics and providing an equitable education for every student regardless of socio-economic background which I believe is one of its most important needs.
4. Why should voters elect you to the Ralston Board of Education?
I have served on numerous boards where I brought my expertise as a former banker with nearly 30 years of financial management. I will work for the best financial management of the district to ensure we provide a great education for our students while not increasing taxes in a very high property tax district.
As an elected Nebraska State Board of Education member I fought for local control of our schools and will fight for the Ralston School District against state overreach. As I did on the state board, I will work for formalized committees, actively involve parents and local businesses in district decisions and demand an up-to-date strategic plan to address the districts challenges, changing demographics and equity. I worked with state senators and one of the results was the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act of 2018 and we must ensure that the district fully implements and responds to this legislation.
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