Alumni Spotlight: Connie Wickham ’78

 

Graduation Year:   1978

Education after High School:

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education
  • Master of Science degree in Education and Administration and Supervision
  • Education Specialist Degree – hooded on December 20th, 2019!
  • National School Superintendent’s Certification

Favorite memory during your time at Bennington Public Schools?

My favorite memory would be the time Sister Barb took all of the student council members on a retreat.  She not only helped us develop leadership skills in a fun, nurturing, judgement-free environment, she modeled being compassionate and caring, and instilled those values in us.

Tell me about your job as Director of Educational Service Unit, No.19 for OPS. What do you enjoy about working in education?

I have spent my entire career working in the Omaha Public Schools.  Three years ago, I was selected to lead ESU No. 19, which required passing a national certification test to become a school superintendent.  The staff I oversee includes our Help Desk, technology technicians who support over 90 schools and programs and the Media Center Staff.  In addition, I participate in meetings with other ESU administrators across the state of Nebraska.

My passion for working in education comes from watching people learn.  Whether it is a small child learning the alphabet or numbers, to adults learning how to use technology, education transforms people.  I am a huge advocate for life-long learning.

What activities you were involved in during school? How did participating in those activities impact your life in the future?

I was in concert band, marching band, choir, small group ensembles, show choir, Girls Athletic Association (GAA), track, volleyball, plays, a member of the yearbook staff, student council, a teacher’s aide, Girls’ State, and really, anything that came along.  As I reflect on that question, I would say that by participating, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with a wide variety of people not only in Bennington but across the state.  It also gave me opportunities to be in leadership positions and to know that education was always going to be a passion for me.

Other family members who are Bennington alumni?

My brothers and I were the third generation in our family to live in Bennington.  We graduated in 1975, 1978 and 1980.  I married Matt Wickham, and we raised three children:  Jessica, Matthew and Michael, who graduated in 2005, 2009 and 2012 respectively.  All three of them are now married and chose to live in the Bennington district, so someday, the fifth generation of my family will be going to Bennington Public Schools- we can’t wait!

How long have you served on the Bennington Community Foundation? Why do you feel it’s important to give back to the community? Any other volunteer roles you take on?

When I was approached many years ago about serving on the Foundation, I felt it was an honor to be asked and a wonderful opportunity to give back to a community that I love.  The education I received at BHS allowed me to earn three different college degrees which lead to a very successful career.

I have also served on the Bennington Public Library board and I am currently a member of the Bennington Woman’s Club, as well as a deacon in my church.

What advice would you give current Bennington high school students?

Bennington Public Schools has an amazing record of academic excellence in the metro area as well as across the state.  That’s something to be proud of – and to continue to strive to maintain.  Be involved – whether it is a club, a sport, a service organization or attending a local church– be involved in something and volunteer.  Just as I am a part of Bennington and always will be, so will you.  My challenge to you is, “What do you want your legacy to be?”  Imagine it, and make it happen.