Growing up in the oil fields of California, East and West Texas, John Witzel graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1974 and earned a master’s degree from Ball State University in 1979. Upon retiring from the Air Force, he earned degrees at Bellevue University in Accounting and Computer Information Systems.
Commissioned in the Air Force in 1974, he served 22 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and served as a navigator, public affairs officer, academic instructor, combat operations planner, and director of quality improvement. He has served at various locations and assignments around the world to include being a volunteer with the Iranian Rescue Attempt in 1980 and appointed and served as Director of the Strategic Air Command Airborne Command Post (Looking Glass) in 1990. Deployed overseas various deployments, he was assigned as a commander of a United Nations Peacekeeper unit in Haiti
Following the military service, John began his second career as an accountant at a national bank headquartered in Omaha, NE, and subsequently was asked to return to the military as a defense contractor where he supported command and control systems at U.S. Strategic Command.
Currently, he has served two terms as president of the Nebraska State Board of Education, District 4, that includes North and South Omaha, Midtown Omaha, large sections of the cities of Papillion and Bellevue. Prior the State Board, John served as a local school board member at the Educational Service Unit 3 for 14 years supporting 18 local school districts, 80,000 students, with education programs, professional development, and technology services.
A nationally noted author, Witzel has published two books, “Saving Tres Rios” and “Saving Vengeance,” about an Air Force Sergeant who retires and becomes a public school teacher.
Active member with the Nat’l School Board Association, Nebraska Association of School Boards, YMCA, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Bellevue University Legacy Foundation, Offutt AFB Advisory Council, Lion’s Club, Masons, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild.