A Strong Leader For A Stronger Douglas County
A native Nebraskan, Joe started his path in Columbus and believes his skill set is best spent serving his fellow Nebraskans. His mother – a social worker for the developmentally disabled – married a small business owner and they worked together to teach Joe the rewards of hard work and service to others. These values guided him through his education at UNL and in the Nebraska State Legislature, where he worked while obtaining his degree. In 2008, he earned his bachelor’s in Education and Human Sciences and moved to Omaha to begin his career in education.
It was in Omaha where Joe grew as an educator and community leader. The Benson neighborhood awarded many opportunities to him: he taught at Benson High School, where he worked his way up into administration and began to explore the ways in which education shapes freedom and equality in local communities. He served as the Vice President of the Benson Neighborhood Association, was a member of the board of the Benson Theatre and the New Leaders Council – Omaha. For his bold and informed initiatives as an educator and mentor in public schools, Joe earned the Christa McAuliffe Prize for Courage and Excellence in Education..
Joe believes in informed approaches to education, and has made it a goal to continue his own education in a way that best serves his community. In 2012, while working toward his degree in Educational Leadership from Doane, he developed the My Empowerment Network for Success (MENS) Program. This program served to fill a gap for young men who reported not having consistent positive male influences in their lives. As a cross-section between education and community service, the men in the program have had tremendous success in their personal and professional lives. For the past seven years, 100% of the program participants graduated on time with a job placement or college enrollment within three months of graduation.
While earning a master’s degree in Education Policy and Management at Harvard University, Joe worked as a Fieldwork Fellow for the Education Redesign Lab, where he learned to apply the skills he was actively learning to build and serve the community that awarded him the opportunity. Through the Redesign Lab, he supported the field work in seven communities- Louisville, KY; Oakland, CA; Providence, RI; Chattanooga-Hamilton County, TN; Salem, MA; Somerville, MA; and through the state-wide work of the Partnership for Resilience in IL, on the By All Means Initiative. Joe worked to support these communities as they created cross-sector systems of wellbeing for childhood and education from birth to career and once again, put to test the skills he obtained through his education.
In addition to running for office, Joe is currently Vice Principal of a high school, where he experiences firsthand the impact of policy and community.