NHSPA Online

Meet the Executive Board

Mark Hilburn, MJE, President

Mark Hilburn is in his 10th year teaching journalism at Millard West High School where he advises the Catalyst Newspaper, MWHS Wildcat News Broadcast, Prowler Yearbook, Ink. Literary Magazine and Striv live-streaming.

In it’s first year in production, the Catalyst received a Cornhusker Award from NHSPA, Pacemaker Finalist from the NSPA and Crown Finalist from CSPA. The Prowler has received seven consecutive Cornhusker Awards from NHSPA, Pacemaker Finalist and All-American Awards from NSPA and Crown Finalist and Gold Medalist Honors from CSPA. In 2018, the MWHS Wildcat News received the first ever Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

During Hilburn’s time as an adviser at Millard West, his students were Class A

State Journalism Champions in 2014 and 2017 and Class A State Runner-Up in 2013 and 2018.

He is a Master Journalism Educator through the Journalism Education Associ

ation and holds Master’s degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication and Secondary Educ

ation: Curriculum and Instruction. In 2012 and 2018, he wrote journalism standards for the state of Nebraska and Millard Public Schools. He judges publications for various state jo

urnalism press associations, presents and judges at national JEA/NSPA and CSPA conventions and is

a faculty adviser for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.

He was named the 2015 Nebraska Distinguished Journalism Teacher of the Year.

To contact him, please email him at [email protected]





Lori Larson, Secretary

Lori Larson is the North Platte High School, Nebraska journalism teacher who advises the student newspaper and the yearbook.
Larson has been teaching for over 15 years and has received several awards including a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, Distinguished Adviser of the Year (NHSPA-2018), and Rising Star Adviser (JEA-2018). She was previously the school district’s director of public and its executive director of their foundation. Prior to that, she was a reporter/anchor for KNOP-TV (NBC).


To contact her please email her at [email protected]

Janelle Schultz, CJE, Treasurer

Janelle Schultz is currently the NHSPA treasurer and past president. During her nine years on the board, she also served as secretary and Class B representative. Schultz has been advising at Gering High School for 18 years. She advises the Blue Prints newspaper, The Kennel yearbook and the news website Blue Prints Live.

During Schultz’s time as adviser at Gering, her students were Class A2 runners-up in 2009 and won the Class B state championship in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016

Schultz has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Journalism and Speech from the University of Wyoming, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Morehead State College. She went on to earn her Master of Science in Education with emphasis in Journalism/Technology from Chadron State College. Schultz also earned a fellowship from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

In her spare time, Schultz enjoys gardening, reading, camping and traveling to visit her daughters.

To contact her, please email her at [email protected]


Diane Schieffer, Camp Director

Diane is in her sixteenth year of teaching and seventh year advising yearbook.

She graduated from Wayne State College with a bachelor’s degree in Education with an endorsement in language arts.  In 2008, she graduated with her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.  She teaches both English and advise the yearbook at Elkhorn High School, previously  she has taught at Fremont High School and West Point Central Catholic.

She has been a camp director since 2011, and also has served on the board as the medium school representative in the past.

To contact her, please email her at [email protected]

Marsha Kalkowski, MJE, Journalism Education Association Liaison

Marsha Kalkowski has been advising publications at Omaha Marian since 1994.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Language Arts from Creighton University and her Master of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Marian’s publications include The Network newspaper, the Crusader yearbook and the M-Beat broadcast program.

Mrs. K is a past Board member for the Nebraska High School Press Association and currently serves as the Nebraska State Director for the Journalism Education Association.  She was named the Nebraska Journalism Teacher of the Year in 2004 and has been sharing her love of high school journalism in workshops and conventions for many years.  Mrs. K is honored to have had many students excel in local, regional and national journalism competitions and even pursue their interests in writing, photography and design in their own careers. She is excited and blessed to be a small part of their Marian journalism educational experience.


To contact her, please e-mail her at [email protected].

Beth Kavan, Large School Representative


Beth Kavan is currently in her fourteenth year of teaching and her sixth at Northwest High School in Grand Island. She teaches English 10, photography, yearbook, newspaper, and broadcast journalism. She is a 2000 graduate of Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University) and received her first Master’s Degree (in Journalism Education) from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2012. She is currently working towards her second Master’s (in Library Sciences) through San Jose State University. Kavan also works as an adjunct instructor at Hastings College, advising the Collegian, the student newspaper of the college. She has served on and off the NHSPA board the last several years, and regularly helps with the NHSPA Summer Journalism Camp as a counselor. She lives with her husband of 18 years and their two very spoiled dogs.

To  contact her, please email her at [email protected].


Brandi Benson, Large School Representative

Brandi Benson has been advising yearbook and newspaper at Lincoln Southwest High School since 2013. Benson attended Hastings College where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. After college, she worked as a journalist for the College Fanz Sports Network working specifically with NAIA schools throughout the country. In 2010, Benson left the field of journalism to pursue her master’s degree in English education at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

To contact her, please email her at [email protected]


Rod Henkel, Small School Representative

Rod has been teaching journalism and mathematics at Yutan High School for 27 years.  He advises the Chieftain Times newspaper and Chieftain yearbook, in addition to coaching cross country, girls basketball and track.  Originally from Davenport, Neb., Rod graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  Rod taught two years in Victoria, Kan., and then served five years as managing editor of the Wahoo Newspaper before beginning his career at Yutan. He has been married to his wife Cindy for 33 years and they have two children, Brandon (32) and Amber (28) and two grandchildren Chloe (5) and Henry (2).

To contact him, please email him at [email protected].



Kristen Harris, Medium School Representative

Kristen Harris teaches at McCook High School. She advises the McCook Stampede Newspaper, the Bison Yearbook and the Junior Bison Yearbook.  In addition to these duties, she also teaches Speech, Reading Intervention, and Journalism courses.

Kristen and her husband, Jon, have 3 children: Lydia, Bennett and Evelynn.

To contact her, email her at [email protected]mccookbison.org.





Aaron Dahl, Small School Representative

Aaron Dahl has been the Director of Technology for Fillmore Central Public Schools for the past 5 years. The elementary and high schools are in Geneva, while the middle school is in Fairmont. Aaron keeps the technology running for all three schools throughout the district. Along with that, he has been the yearbook advisor for 3 years, and junior high football coach for 5 years. He graduated from Shelby High School in 2009 and Southeast Community College – Lincoln in 2011 with an Associates of Computer Science – Networking degree.



David Stevens , Small School Representative


David Stevens is the high school English teacher at Scribner-Snyder Community Schools. Along with core classes, he teaches newspaper and sponsors speech, one-act, and the high school community service club. Stevens graudated from Wayne State College in 2012 and lives in his home town, Blair, Nebraska. Currently he is finishing a masters in literacy and reading specialist.


To contact him, please email him at  [email protected]

CJ Curry, Webmaster

CJ Curry is the former Editor in Chief of Papillion La-Vista’s website, PLPulse.com and is a current sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.







Ranae Duncan, Large School Representative

Ranae Duncan is currently in her ninth year of teaching, all at Omaha Bryan High School. She has been advising the school’s publications, the Crusader yearbook and the Orator newspaper, for the past seven years.  Prior to taking on journalism, she taught English 5-6 and 7-8.  She is a 2009 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with endorsements in English and Journalism. Currently, she teaches Journalism I-II, Photojournalism I-II, Yearbook and Newspaper. She recently introduced Digital Journalism to the Omaha Public Schools curriculum and her students have earned recognition at the local, state and national levels for their journalistic work. This is her first year on the NHSPA board.








Erica Brockmoller, CJE Lexington High School,

Erica is a Journalism advisor at Lexington High School in Lexington, Nebraska and has been there for the past nine years. She has also been a integral part of journalism camp since 2011, and has recently became a leader of the Yearbook track at J Camp this past summer. As a key contributor to the J-Camp Tradition, mandatory fun, Erica has built up the energy to make it a life changing experience for all students.


Nebraska High School Press Association
Meet the Executive Board