New Format, New Ideas
Tim Meyers is the new chair of the Gross Catholic High School Board of Directors.
Meyers, who accepted the position at the June meeting, is president of WellCare of Nebraska, which provides healthcare coverage to about 90,000 of Nebraska’s most vulnerable citizens.
“I am honored to serve Gross Catholic, in concert with our other talented directors,” said Meyers, a 1990 graduate. “From my earliest days at Gross, the words ‘Dux Esto’ have inspired me to lead. We have an opportunity to ensure a vibrant future for Gross Catholic.”
Also at the meeting, the board expanded from 10 members to 12 with the addition of Judy Sauley, who returns to the board from an earlier term, and Terri Campbell, who formerly was the Development Director at Gross.
Meyers takes over leadership of the board from Thomas C. Kjar, president of the Creighton Federal Credit Union, who is stepping down after 11 years on the board, nine as chairman.
“It has been a distinct honor and pleasure serving the Gross Catholic community,” Kjar said. “With the changes in responsibilities of the board firmly in place, I thought it was time for new voices and fresh ideas. I will always treasure my experiences with Gross Catholic.”
For the past year, Kjar oversaw an expansion in the board’s authority and involvement in the school’s operation. Since last fall, the board assumed oversight powers involving long-range planning, annual objectives, administrative policy, academic achievement, fundraising, budgeting, tuition levels, tuition assistance, alumni relations, recruiting, and marketing.
The move came from the Archdiocese of Omaha and applied not only to Gross, but Skutt Catholic and Roncalli Catholic. Now all three schools are able to collaborate on issues and share best practices, thus benefiting and strengthening all the schools at the same time, Kjar said.
“It’s harder to run a school now more than ever,” Kjar said. “Dr. Dorothy Ostrowski is a remarkably qualified school president,” he said, “and the intent of the change is to assist her with all her responsibilities. The board will be working very closely with the president.”
For more than 50 years, the board has served in an advisory capacity. Its role has been to advise the school president on topics ranging from fundraising to enrollment to school policies. It has also made the president aware of parental and community issues. However, the board’s recommendations were advisory only, Kjar said. With this new limited jurisdiction authority, Gross will have a strong board with more involvement to help the president.
“Now, we are where the buck stops,” he said.
Ostrowski welcomes the change.
“Gross Catholic has always relied on the expertise and guidance of our board,” she said. “Transitioning from an advisory board to a board of limited jurisdiction increases the responsibility of the board, but also strengthens the collaboration between Gross Catholic and our stakeholders. With this board, we are working to establish a strong subcommittee structure that will only benefit our school as we move forward.”
With the new form of governance, all three school boards have the same authority, structure, and responsibilities, with one exception. Gross will continue to have a board member who represents the Marianist order, which founded the school. Betty Stern, a lay Marianist with grandchildren at Gross, fills that seat.
“Her responsibility is to infuse the Marianist identity throughout the school,” Kjar said.
The reorganized board calls for one member to be a priest, and Gross is fortunate to have the Rev. Dave Belt from St. Stephen the Martyr.
Other board members are a combination of alumni, parents of alumni, parents of current students, members of the general community and an active professional educator.
The new board structure will bring “new enthusiasm for recruiting and fundraising,” Kjar said.
He sees new recruitment opportunities for Gross with the current housing expansion in Sarpy County between Bellevue and Papillion, he said. Plus, Gross continues to draw teens from among the minority population in South Omaha, making the school more diverse and enhancing its educational value.
Gross Catholic Board Members
- Tim Meyers ’90 (Board Chair)
- Chris Reed ’86 (Vice Chair)
- Father Dave Belt
- Jane Carnazzo Stutzman ’78
- Lisa Bowen ’90
- Kevin McCoy ’83 (Secretary)
- Tony Espejo ’89
- Robb Huck ’88
- Betty Stern (Marianist Representative)
- Terri Campbell
- Judy Sauley ’80
- Dr. Dorothy Ostrowki
- Paulette Neuhalfen
- Kristin Dohse