Nebraska’s education commissioner announces his resignation

By: - September 23, 2022 5:44 pm

Four finalists have been named to be Nebraska’s next Education commissioner. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

After nine years as commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Education, Matthew Blomstedt on Friday announced he is resigning.

He said he’ll step down Jan. 3 and pledged help in a transition.

Matthew Blomstedt, Nebraska Education Commissioner (Courtesy of Department of Education)

The elected State Board of Education is charged with choosing Blomstedt’s successor.

“I am looking forward to opportunities to continue my leadership in education at the state and national level,” Blomstedt said in a resignation letter that did not specify his next job.

Blomstedt said he contemplated the departure for several weeks, after considering opportunities that existed for him personally and professionally.

In the letter addressed to Board President Patsy Koch Johns, Blomstedt said he was proud to have served with so many dedicated professionals.

“We have sought to change the very nature of the work of the agency from compliance to support and to modernize functions of the agency,” he said.

Koch Johns said in a statement that Nebraska, under Blomstedt’s direction, has become a national leader in education.

“Commissioner Blomstedt has been a champion for all students and families, and a great leader of the Department of Education,” she said. “He inspired us to work in the best interest of all Nebraskans. We wish him well and thank him for his service.”

Just this week, Blomstedt testified before a congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C., about Nebraska’s response to the pandemic and how schools and students benefited from federal recovery funds.

He said it was remarkable to reflect that he spent about a third of his tenure leading through a pandemic.

 “I am especially proud of the leadership I was able to provide to Nebraska schools and to NDE as we took bold steps forward during historic disruptions,” he said in the letter.

Earlier this summer, he voiced frustration at a June public meeting about how his board was handling renewal of his contract and said he had been left out of the discussion.

After various back and forth motions, the board took no action, which reportedly left intact Blomstedt’s existing contract, which was to expire in mid-2024.

During his tenure, Blomstedt oversaw adoption of the state board’s 2016 strategic plan, led development and implementation of a comprehensive state accountability system and positioned Nebraska to meet new federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act.


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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.