State Education Board Selects New Education Commissioner

Matthew Blomstedt

The Nebraska State Board of Education announced Thursday Matthew Blomstedt will take over as Nebraska's new education commissioner.

Blomstedt will replace Roger Breed, who retired earlier this year. The Central City man was picked from four finalists for the job.

Blomstedt currently serves as executive director of the Nebraska Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council.

He received a doctorate in educational leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in addition to a master's degree in community and regional planning.

The board unanimously approved Blomstedt. Board members pointed to his experience with educators throughout the state, and his work with rural Nebraska schools.

Board president Patt Timm says in a statement that members will work with Blomstedt to develop a new state accountability system. He says the goal is to ensure all students learn at high levels and the achievement gap among students is narrowed.

"There will be a bill, introduced by Senator Adams last year, LB438. It crafts an accountability system for the state of Nebraska and that's a crucial piece of work that has to be done because of ESEA, or no child left behind requirements at the federal level."

NTV caught up with Blomstedt on Saturday, December 14 at Stuhr museum.

Recently the arts were highlighted in the state of Nebraska. Blomstedt said he understands the importance of arts first hand. He said "We'refinally moving down a path where the focus is broadening on standards so we'reable to focus on the creative nature of what should be going on in theeducation system, just like we hear music behind us, (at Stuhr) these are important partsof our education existence; we need to find ways to engage students inlearning."

Blomstedt said many students learn in different ways and when they're engaged by finearts it helps make educational connections that are important to their success.

"It'sreally important, participated in a lot of music, I was in marching band incollege," Blomstedt said.