The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

The Student News Site of Gretna High School

Gretna Media

District Names New Superintendent

Travis Lightle Takes the Wheel
Gretna Public Schools
Travis Lightle, in the center, with members of the Gretna Public Schools Board of Education. Lightle was named permanent superintendent last Friday.

A young Travis Lightle peered eagerly through a chainlink fence, hoping to catch a glimpse of his father on the fastpitch softball field. Three kids, all under the age of five, surrounded him. Though Lightle was only seven at the time, he had been tasked with watching these children while the game played out nearby. This became a regular occurrence that led to him babysitting throughout middle and high school, and eventually pursuing a career as an educator. 

Lightle graduated with his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and later earned a master’s degree in education from Creighton University. Since 2003, he has worked in the community through various jobs with Gretna Public Schools (GPS). 

Most people would identify Lightle as being a second, fifth or sixth grade teacher, an elementary principal, Student Services director or assistant superintendent. However, there are many students who recognize him as one of the friendly faces who drives their bus. Throughout his 20 year career at GPS, Lightle has been known to hop in the driver’s seat of one of the long yellow vehicles and take it for a spin. 

He said during an interview during the fall semester that he remembers the first time he pulled up in a bus to Gretna Elementary after becoming the principal and how excited the students were to see him in the driver’s seat again. For Lightle, the relationships with students are why he continued to drive the buses. Throughout the week, he has many calls and emails to respond to, so he said he saw that time before and after school as a break from the chaos and a chance to connect with students. Despite no longer having a classroom of his own, Lightle said he does his best to maintain the bonds he has created with staff and students, while building new ones too. 

He now gets the opportunity to strengthen those relationships as a superintendent. After the resignation of Dr. Richard Beran in the spring of 2023, the school board appointed Lightle, who was the assistant superintendent at the time, to fill the role through May of this year. 

As of Jan. 12, Lightle was one of three finalists for the official permanent position, along with Dr. Joshua McDowell, superintendent of Crete Public Schools and Dr. Devin Embray, superintendent of Glenwood Public Schools. Eight days later, it was announced to the public that, after a unanimous vote by the GPS Board of Education, Lightle will be the new head of the district.

A primary goal of his moving forward is to uphold the mission statement of GPS: “The undeniable, unconditional acceptance of all students to maximize their potential.” Lightle said he still recalls the first time he heard those words in 2003 from former superintendent Dr. Kevin Riley and how they “just rang true.”

“I completely believe Gretna does it the right way,” Lightle said. “I don’t want to be part of any other district. This is where I want to be.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ava Fuller, Co-editor Gretna Media
Ava Fuller is a senior at GHS and the editor-in-chief of the Online Journalism program. She is a third-year on staff who enjoys taking pictures of sporting events and writing impactful stories. Outside of the J-Room you can find Ava on a Target run, reading a good book, cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes or spending time with friends and family. For questions/concerns, email [email protected]

Comments (0)

All Gretna Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *