Two LPS associate superintendents announce retirement plans at end of school year

Associate Superintendent for Educational Services Matt Larson and Associate Superintendent for Civic Engagement John Neal announced they plan to retire at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. Both Northeast High School graduates have had a long and storied career at Lincoln Public Schools.

Larson began teaching math at Lincoln High School in 1987, served as math department chair at Lincoln High, and as one of the district’s first instructional coordinators before serving as the LPS K-12 math curriculum specialist from 1995 to 2018. During his time in math curriculum, Larson collaborated with others to establish the first set of curricular objectives, common assessments, grading practices, and professional learning community work in any curricular area.
Larson is nationally known for co-authoring multiple math textbooks, professional books, and journal articles in mathematics education, as well as speaking at conferences across the country. During his time at LPS he simultaneously served for a term as President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
In July of 2018, Larson was named the interim Associate Superintendent for Instruction, and then permanently took over the role in January, 2019. He oversaw Assessment and Evaluation, Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning, Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Federal Programs, Library Services, Special Education and Student Services. 
Larson worked with Instructional Directors to develop and deliver remote learning in only two weeks during the pandemic shutdown in 2020. At a time when many schools across the nation were shut down for over a year, LPS was able to return to in person instruction while also offering remote and hybrid learning in the fall of 2020 due to the work of Larson and team of Instructional Directors. 
His title was changed to Associate Superintendent for Educational Services in 2023 during an organization restructuring announced in June. Early Childhood, Federal Programs and Grants, Health Services, Security, Special Education and Student Services continued to report to Larson under the reorganization.

Neal began his career with LPS in 1981 as an assistant swimming coach at Northeast High School and then also as a gifted mentor in 1982, before taking a job in Millard Public Schools as an English teacher and coach.  He then served as an assistant principal in Council Bluffs, Iowa before coming to LPS as the principal at Mickle Middle School in 2002. During Neal’s time at Mickle, he worked with the staff to earn the first regional accreditation for a middle school in LPS history. 

In 2008, Neal became the district’s first Director of Secondary Education where he oversaw middle and high schools and the focus programs. At the time there were four focus programs - Science Focus Program, Arts and Humanities Focus Program, Information and Technology Focus Program and Entrepreneurial Focus Program.

A new position was created in 2012 and Neal was selected to serve LPS as the Assistant to the Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration. Neal served as the official liaison between the school district and other elected officials and government entities. As one of his duties, Neal served as the district’s lobbyist. Neal was instrumental in the development of The Career Academy - a partnership for LPS to earn dual credit with Southeast Community College. He also collaborated with others to build the Safe and Successful Kids Interlocal agreement, and to implement the Eagle Feather Project for Native American graduating seniors. Neal oversees Athletics, Communications, Community Learning Centers, TeamMates and Wellness.

Neal’s title also changed during his career with LPS to include that of an Assistant Superintendent then Associate Superintendent and finally with the organizational restructuring in June of 2023, becoming the Associate Superintendent for Civic Engagement.

Larson and Neal’s official last day will be June 30, 2024.

Published: January 16, 2024, Updated: January 16, 2024

Matt Larson,
Associate Superintendent for Educational Services

John Neal,
Associate Superintendent for Civic Engagement