Mrs. Bland was born in Syracuse, Nebraska, a small town just south of Lincoln. She was a Syracuse Rocket, spending the majority of her time playing volleyball and basketball. The Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca graduate left her hometown to pursue a degree in nursing from Midland University but after only one semester decided she didn’t like blood or needles all that much and changed her major to elementary education.
Mrs. Bland started her teaching career at Cedar Bluffs Public Schools teaching Kindergarten. During her time at Cedar Bluffs, she also served as a Curriculum and Assessment Director and K-12 Guidance Counselor. She also shared her love for volleyball by serving as the assistant volleyball coach at Cedar. While teaching, Mrs. Bland continued her education journey and earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration PK-8 from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. After 5 years at Cedar Bluffs, Mrs. Bland made the 30-minute move north to Oakland-Craig where she not only started her career as an elementary principal but also started a family with her husband Theo.
Theo and Jess have lived in Oakland for the past 7 years and now have three children: Brooks (7), Benson (5), and Brigz (1). When Mrs. Bland isn’t busy working or taking classes, she enjoys spending time with her family, boating, hunting, and golfing (although her golf game could use some work). Mrs. Bland states that she is excited to continue her career at Oakland-Craig as the new superintendent of schools. “Oakland-Craig is the first place I’ve considered home since moving from Syracuse 15 years ago. I couldn’t imagine a better place to raise my kids. I’ve been so impressed with how this community takes care of one another and the pride that they have. I’m thrilled to be here and look forward to working with stakeholders to continue to make Oakland-Craig great," states Mrs. Bland.