NHSPA Online

Meet the Executive Board

Mark Hilburn, MJE, President and Large School Representative

Mark Hilburn is in his 11th year teaching journalism at Millard West High School in Omaha, Nebraska, where he advises the MWHS Wildcat News Broadcast, Catalyst Newspaper, Prowler Yearbook and Striv live-streaming. Currently, Mark is serving his second year as President of the Nebraska High School Press Association, presents and judges at national JEA/NSPA and CSPA conventions and teaches journalism workshops across the country. He is a Master Journalism Educator through the Journalism Education Association and holds Master’s degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication and Secondary Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska. He wrote State Journalism standards for Nebraska in 2012 and journalism curriculum for Millard Public Schools in 2010 and 2018. For the past two years, Mark has served as a faculty adviser at George Mason University.

His publications have been Pacemaker finalists, received Gold Crown and All-American Awards, and during the 2017-2018 school year, The Catalyst and Prowler both received 1st place in the NSPA Best of Show competition. Locally, Millard West Journalism won State in 2017 and 2014, was State Runner-Up in 2018, 2016 and 2013 and the past two years, Mark has advised the 2018 and 2019 Nebraska Journalists of the Year. In 2018, Millard West received the first ever Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Mark was named the 2015 Nebraska Distinguished Journalism Teacher/Adviser of the Year, and in 2019, was the first adviser to receive the Dr. Sherrie Wilson Outstanding Service Award for Journalism.

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


Erica Brockmoller, Vice President & Medium School Representitive

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.


Ranae Duncan, At-Large Representative & Communications Director

Ranae Duncan has been advising journalism courses since 2012. She now teaches and advises at Burke High School in the Communications Academy. Before making the switch to Burke, she was the journalism adviser for both yearbook and newspaper at Bryan High School for 10 years. Duncan attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with endorsements in English and Journalism. She is currently perusing her master’s degree in Media and Journalism at Kent State University. 


Kristin 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


David Stevens, Small School Representative

David Stevens has been advising journalism since 2013. He started his career and taught at Scribner-Snyder for 7 years. During the pandemic, he taught and advised yearbook for a year at Tekamah-Herman. He now teaches and advises at Fremont High School. Stevens obtained his Secondary English Education degree and minor in Editing and Publishing at Wayne State College. He has a masters degree in Literacy through Concordia University and is currently working on his MJE through Kent State University. 

David has been on the NHSPA Board for 6 years. During that time he has served as a representative for small schools. Currently he is serving as a large school representative and as Secretary.

When David isn’t teaching, advising or working on grad homework, he is most likely taking care of his indoor jungle, hanging out with his cats, playing video games or reading comics.



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

Brandi Benson, Critiques Chair and Co-Treasurer

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.


Marsha Kalkowski, MJE, non-voting Board member

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, the M-Beat broadcast program and BURN literary/arts magazine.

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 and as an assistant contest chair for the Nebraska Press Women Association. She was honored by the NSAA with a Volunteer Service Award in 2022. She was named the Nebraska Distinguished Adviser 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].



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]


Michelle Hassler

Michelle Carr Hassler, an associate professor of practice in journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was named executive director of the NHSPA in 2016.

A McCook native, she knows firsthand how important scholastic journalism is for aspiring journalists, broadcasters and mass communicators.

“My first by-line was in the McCook High School newspaper. I loved newspaper class, and it inspired me to think about journalism as a career. But it also taught me valuable lessons about the First Amendment, ethics and civic leadership that are important for all students.”

In her work with the NHSPA, Hassler is continually impressed with the dedication and commitment of the state’s high school journalism educators.

Hassler began teaching at University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1998, and her teaching has won eight national awards from journalism educator groups, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Before joining the UNL faculty, she worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Nebraska, including the Lincoln Journal and the Lincoln Journal Star. (Her full bio is available here.)

In 2019, she was honored with the NHSPA’s R. Neale Copple Friend of Journalism Award for her significant support of scholastic journalism.

For more information on Michelle or to contact her, please visit her UNL profile.


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Meet the Executive Board