Bret Anderson has been with OPS (Omaha Public Schools) for 29 years and a principal for 19 years. He is one of a few elementary principals on the district coaching team (since 2012) helping to train over 400 administrators within the Omaha Public Schools. He has a broad base of experience in many areas and mentoring and developing effective leaders is a goal. This year he joined the official district mentoring team helping to create a pipeline of effective principals. He began his career teaching art for 10 years at the junior high and elementary school levels. During that time, he continually looked for ways to expand his leadership skills and experience--serving in coaching and supervision positions, as well as creating a weight-training program for at-risk youth. He moved to an assistant principal position at Indian Hill Elementary for a year, and then became the school’s principal, where he served for another nine years. While there, Anderson became active in creating a supportive community through his involvement in many neighborhood and city-wide groups, including: Strengthening Neighborhoods and Communities, Project Impact, Weed and Seed, Indian Hill Neighborhood Association and Bright Futures (two groups and two task forces). He has been president of the Omaha School Administrators Association (OSAA); a board member of Girls Inc., the Student Assignment Plan Advisory Committee, and has been on the district EXCELS Plus Steering Committee (focused on school improvement); as well as a resource mentor for the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in the area of urban education. He has worked with the Empowerment Network on the Promise Neighborhood Federal Grant and is an advisor on the North Omaha Cradle to Career Group. He is on the district coaching team and works with a core group to train all administrators in OPS in the practice of effective coaching. He started the Underwood Hills Focus School as the first collaborative focus school under three districts. He was principal for three years at Underwood and with high parental support moved the focus school, changing the name to Wilson Focus School now in year eight. The school is still open to all eleven districts in the Douglas and Sarpy learning community. He currently has joined the marketing and public relations board of Projectliftoff a group to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities in Nebraska. The Wilson Focus School is AdvancEd nationally accredited (scoring high in all areas), has been an Apple Distinguished School, a Bronze School for Health and Wellness, a district Gold School for achievement gains and was recently recognized in Washington DC as being a 2015 U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Award School. The school was recently rated excellent in AQuESTT (the state's new reporting system) and scored 89 out of 90 in the areas supporting student success.
Anderson has received UNO’s Outstanding Service Award (with wife Ingra), the Lorraine Giles Award for School Safety from the Safety and Health Council, and Indian Hill had the honor of being one of five safe school models through the Nebraska State Improvement Grant during his time there. In 2009 he received the Outstanding Educational Leadership Award from Phi Delta Kappa. Anderson has always had an interest in helping students and teachers be the best they can be, and he studies leadership and technology trends on a regular basis to aid in this pursuit. He is involved in many professional organizations that reinforce effective instructional leadership. He understands the key role community relationships play in the success of any educational venture, and he strives to build collaborations with a wide range of partners to help facilitate the highest student achievement possible. He is on various boards and committees including the Cradle to Career advisory board of the Empowerment Network. Anderson holds a master’s and two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.