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OPS Board Appoints Interim Superintendent, Approves New Teacher Deal

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — As icy roads are a major concern, the OPS board has shortened today’s meeting.

Before the break, they added a surprise – they chose Deputy Superintendent Matthew Ray as interim superintendent for outgoing Dr. Cheryl Logan.

“We know this is a critical time for Omaha Public Schools and operations cannot be put on hold for the transition,” said Ricky Smith, Vice President of the Board of Directors. “We must keep moving forward for the success of our students and staff, and we have a longtime leader in Deputy Superintendent Matthew Ray. The Accountability Committee recommends that the Board of Directors offer Mr. Ray the position of Interim Superintendent and enter into contract negotiations with him.”

If formally approved next month, he will begin work in July and could become a candidate for a permanent position once the nationwide search concludes early next year.

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be your Interim Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools,” Ray said. “OPS offers unrivaled opportunities for all students. I have witnessed these opportunities throughout my career and as a proud parent of three OPS alumni.”

“I liked the word care this evening,” Dr. Logan said. “You don’t get it from every leader, you don’t get it from every person you get the opportunity to work with, but his level of concern for Omaha public school students and staff is exemplary.”

There were other things tonight – the board approved a new deal with teachers. This includes, in part, increases in starting wages over the next three years totaling more than $7,000.

After the pandemic exposed the hardships the system is facing and there are already shortages of teachers, the president of the Omaha Education Association thinks the deal is a good start.

“We can really see our shortcomings and work on fixing them from that perspective,” said Michelle Settlemyer, President of the OEA. “Here’s where we’re failing, and how we can work to fix it…two things I’ve outlined tonight as I review the concerns of our special education teachers and schedule time for elementary and early childhood teachers. They do a lot and they don’t have the time needed to complete everything.”

A vote to approve the amended contract with Student Transportation of America, the district’s bus partner, has been delayed until the next meeting. The Board expects significant public comment on bus service issues and does not want the weather to prevent them from being heard.

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