Milford Public School’s Wingard named NRCSA’s Outstanding Superintendent


Kevin Wingard of Milford Public Schools was honored as the 2023 Outstanding Superintendent by the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association March 23.

NRCSA presented the award at its annual conference in Kearney – but Wingard said he almost missed being there to receive it.

“It was a total surprise. I did not know it was happening,” he said.

He was part of a team presenting on the Wellness4All Mental Health Program in area schools. The presentation was on Thursday, but the awards presentation wasn’t until Friday.

Wingard only planned to attend the conference for part of Thursday.

“At the last minute, NRCSA had to change their schedule around. People were trying to convince me to stay for the lunch,” he said.

When his name was announced as Outstanding Superintendent, Wingard gave a speech. He thanked his family – his wife, Becky, and daughters Mekenna and Maci – who funneled in from the hall. Their son Mitch was unable to attend but was there in spirit.

“I said ‘I wish my administrative team was here,’” Wingard said, as his team spoke up and waved. “They snuck in and were seated two tables behind me and I didn’t even know it.”

He said he was thrilled they all rearranged their plans to be at the conference a day early.

Wingard was recognized for his leadership within Milford Public Schools and his advocacy for education for all students in Nebraska.

NRCSA is comprised of 220 member schools, educational service units and state colleges in 90 counties. It honors administrators, teachers and other staff for their outstanding leadership through a nomination process.

Dr. Mitch Kubicek and other administrators at MPS submitted the nomination.

“Over the past few months, staff and board members began asking if there was a way for us to recognize Kevin for his work to support education within Milford, and also at the state level where Kevin has been active,” Kubicek said. “Kevin has supported education across Nebraska by testifying on education bills and serving on a statewide organization, NCSA, which is a support organization for educational leaders.

“Kevin truly deserves this honor, as he has been a leader statewide in efforts to help support the work of Nebraska teachers and staff. The most impactful ‘thank yous’ are the ones that are given. Kevin has always been very thankful for the work Milford teachers and staff demonstrate every day to support our students and their families.

“This recognition was just one way we could return thanks to Kevin.”

Wingard has served at Milford for 18 years. Prior to joining MPS, he served a year as superintendent in Ainsworth and was principal at Seward Middle School.

This is the first time NRCSA has honored a Milford administrator.

“Obviously, I thank my family. They’re the ones that, most of the time, come in second in my life because there’s just a lot going on at school,” Wingard said. “I’ve been truly blessed. When you look at superintendent tenure, it’s pretty hard to stay in the same place that long anymore. It truly is a reflection of our team. I just happen to be the one that got the award.”

He attributed the honor to MPS board members, staff, students, parents and community members.

“This truly is a recognition of the job that each of you do with our students,” he wrote in an email to colleagues that afternoon.

“It’s not about me, it’s about our kids and staff,” Wingard said. “I’m so proud of what we do here.”