Crystal Rhoades has deep roots in Nebraska and comes from a strong Omaha family. As a mother, businesswoman and a lifelong resident of Omaha, she knows the value of education and hard work.
Rhoades graduated from Central High School and received bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and political science as a Goodrich Scholar from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She also holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska.
As the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI) Coordinator for Douglas County, she has been part of a nationwide effort by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to improve outcomes for children who enter the juvenile justice system by working to provide alternatives to incarceration that protect public safety, save taxpayer dollars and produce better outcomes for children in the juvenile justice system.
Rhoades is highly involved in the community and has served the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance and the Midtown Neighborhood alliance, empowering neighborhood leaders to find solutions to crime, safety, housing and health issues.
Rhoades was also elected to the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors where she has worked to improve state funding, ensuring local taxpayers are getting an equitable distribution of state aid for education, and created and implemented policy to protect taxpayer funds by ensuring overall responsible contracting practices. She has also integrated green technology and sustainability components into the curriculum of many programs, working to make MCC a leader in green education as we move toward a greener economy.
Rhoades has also been a champion of service-learning programs. She believes that placing students in real working conditions provides them with an advantage when they complete their education and transition into the workforce. Service-learning also provides students an opportunity to experience the personal satisfaction of knowing that they made a difference to people in the community, reinforcing MCC’s commitment to serving the community. She has supported the efforts of the faculty, staff and students who have used the skills they’ve learned at MCC to go out into the community through service-learning projects to improve their own neighborhoods by giving their knowledge and time to help those who are physically or financially unable to help themselves.
Rhoades has received several awards recognizing her efforts at both Metropolitan Community College and the Neighborhood Center. She received the Omaha Jaycees TOYO, League of Women Voter’s Making Democracy Work Award, John F. Kennedy Award and the Nebraska’s First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service Award.