GRAND ISLAND, NE — A former educator with experience teaching at schools across the state is running for an open spot on the State Board of Education.

Danielle Helzer of Grand Island announced on Monday that she is running for the District 6 spot on the board. District 6 includes 17 counties ranging from the northeast corner of the state to the Tri Cities.

“I am running because I believe in education and know that quality education is key to our individual and collective futures,” Helzer said. “As a state board of education member, I will prioritize the needs of students, support teachers, and work with families and communities in making Nebraska schools the best in the nation.”

Helzer grew up in Crete and Columbus and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2008. She has taught at high schools in Grant, Ogallala, Gretna and Omaha. Helzer moved to Grand Island with her husband and kids in 2015 and works in the nonprofit sector.

In a news release, Helzer said her focus as a board member would be to keep students at the center while supporting the needs of school staff.

“If elected, my commitment will include closely listening to and working with the families and communities that our students and school staff call home,” Helzer said.

She was recognized in 2019 as a “35 understanding 35” recipient by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and won the 2017 Susan McDaniels Teacher of the Year Award from the Nebraska Writing Project.

Helzer is running for the seat currently held by Maureen Nickels of Chapman, who decided not to see a third term. Sherry Jones, a retired Grand Island teacher, has also filed to run for the District 6 spot.

Helzer is holding a campaign launch event on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Gallery Bar in Grand Island.