Meet Our Great

Board of Directors

Dr. Ken Bird


Dr. Ken Bird is President and CEO of Avenue Scholars which promotes post-secondary education for high school graduates, and former Superintendent of District 66 Westside Public Schools. He has extensive experience in education administration. He has been involved with other nonprofit organizations and is familiar with other nonprofit organizations in the community. He brings an understanding of public education, leadership of large K- 12th grade educational institutions, and post-primary school and school to work educational needs to the Board of Directors. 

Mr. Allan Ziebarth


Mr. Allan Ziebarth is an attorney and has experience with corporate structures, operations and formalities and has many years of experience with many foundations and nonprofit organizations in the community. He is VP of Palleton, Inc., co-founder of the Nebraska Solar Energy Society, attorney, and adviser for the not for profit Loren Eiseley Society. He brings not-for-profit legal expertise to the Board of Directors. 

Mr. Gary Gates


CEO Strategic Air and Space Museum, President and CEO, Omaha Public Power District (retired). Mr. Gates retired from Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) in 2015, capping an almost 43-year career that saw him rise to be the second-longest serving president and CEO. His impact and support for Prairie STEM has been instrumental in growing and developing our program. 

Dr. Bing Chen

Chairman of the Board

Dr. Bing Chen is tenured professor and former chairman of the Computer and Electronic Engineering Department at  the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Omaha Campus, co- Principal Investigator for the NSF SPIRIT2 grant and the  predecessor NSF grant, past president of the Association of Electronic and Computer Engineering Department  Heads Association (ECEDHA), founder of the Nebraska Solar Energy Society, and president of the Loren Eiseley Society. He brings experience with university engineering and technology education and leadership to the Board of  Directors. 

Ms. Nancy Williams

Ms. Nancy Williams is President/CEO of No More Empty Pots. She brings her expansive non-profit knowledge and history to our board and has been very active in the strategic planning as well as implementation of plan. 

Mr. Curtis Beeson

Mr. Curtis Beeson is former Chief Technology Officer at Woodmen of the World, VP at First Data Corporation, and has assembled a long career in deploying and managing technology into corporations and organizations. Mr. Beeson has demonstrated technical expertise in his career with Fortune 500 companies and testifying before Congressional committees on information security. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Bellevue University He has unique insight into the needs of business in developing qualified and motivated technical employees and leaders and brings his understanding of technical education needs of the business marketplace to the Board of Directors.

Dr. Neal Grandgenett

Harvey Haddix endowed Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Education, is a nationally known educator. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in STEM education, interdisciplinary learning, and research methdos. His interests include the development and evaluation of technology-based learning environments in STEM education. 

Mr. Jeff Jensen

Mr. Jeff Jensen is a business and technology consultant at the University of Nebraska and a former Director at First Data Corporation. He has served on the board of other nonprofit organizations in the community. Mr. Jensen brings experience with technical staff development needs for business and has operational expertise with successful educator and student STEM enrichment programs. 

Mr. Ken Moreanu

Co-founder/President, Scott Data Center. Executive Director, Scott Technology Center. Executive Director of technology incubator. Growth of campus from 5,000 square feet of occupied space to 140,000 square feet. Successful incubation of early stage projects as well as workforce development between corporate campus tenants and University students. 

Dr. David Conway

Former Associate Dean for College of Education, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Conway is one of the key connectors for the origins of Prairie STEM and has been instrumental in helping grow the organization through his network and history in education. 

Dr. Elliott Ostler

Professor of STEM Education, President of Faculty Senate, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dr. Ostler is one of the key leaders in education who has helped grow the STEM Education at UNO into one of the finest in the country. Dr. Ostler has been especially active in helping design and implement the extended, ongoing longitudinal study showing Prairie STEM’s impact on K12 education. 

Mr. Alan Wang


Mr. Alan Wang is Executive Director for Prairie STEM. He brings his history of education, medicine and technology to the organization by helping bring STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education to the forefront of community and industry expectations.

Ms. Shelly Foulkes


Ms Shelly Foulkes is the Director of Finance for Prairie STEM. She brings her experience in business management and consulting to the organization with a strong emphasis in personalized learning and independent schools.