From Bellevue Bruin to Gretna Dragon:
Dr. Kevin Riley leads Gretna School District
Chief Dragon Trainer is not Dr. Kevin Riley’s official title, but it may be apropos for his role as the Superintendent of Gretna Public Schools. The 31-year veteran of the Gretna School District started cutting his dragon-training teeth as a guard for the then-Bellevue College basketball team from 1971-75.
Riley credits former Bellevue University Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Jerry Mosser with setting him on the right path during his college career.
“I think that everybody at some time in their life needs validation from someone other than their parents. Coach was that person for me,” Riley said. “He made sure I was thinking about being something other than a basketball player. To say he was instrumental in the professional success I’ve had would be an understatement.”
Only five years old at that point, the young school fit the bill for Riley. He cited Associate Professor Del Stites and former professor Joyce Wilson for creating a collegiate atmosphere.
“Bellevue, for me, academically was a really good fit,” Riley said. “Having Del’s class made me feel like I was in college. He was a very good professor in his delivery and his organization. I had a great experience there in all facets.”
After earning Athlete of the Year honors at Bellevue in 1975, Riley went on to earn his Master’s Degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1981 and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991. He started in the Millard School District before moving to Gretna as an Assistant Principal for the 1983-83 academic year. He is in his 14th year as the Superintendent of Schools for Gretna.
“What we’ve been able to build here is a really strong teaching and administrative staff along with a strong classified group of people such as secretaries, custodians, food service and bus drivers,” Riley said. “I can honestly save we do not have a weak teacher or administrator in this district.”
Gretna students will occasionally inquire with him about the Bellevue University experience. “What’s it like there? Is that somewhere where I would like to go to school? Is that an athletic program I would like to be involved in?” are among the questions he gets.
“I’ve always been able to say absolutely, depending on what you’re looking for,” he said. “It’s a place that I think gives you an alternative to a large public institution and the smaller, very expensive private institutions.”
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