NAECAD Interview: Nate Simons, Nebraska Schools Esports Association

November 10, 2021

Nate Simons is the Director of Technology & Esports Coach with the Louisville Public Schools and Secretary, Nebraska Schools Esports Association (NSESA). He had been with NSESA since the very beginning four years ago. As a result, the NSESA has seen exponential growth in esports.

NSESA is an esports organization for the state of Nebraska. They play all the major competitive esports games like Rocket League and Overwatch. NAECAD had the opportunity to sit down with and interview Nate Simons. Simon’s provides insight on the organization itself as well as the impact of esports in their community.

What is the Current State of the Nebraska Schools Esports Association?

Nate Simons: We are growing by leaps and bounds. We started a little over four years ago with four or five schools. We’ve been just growing like crazy ever since. This year was our most significant growth year. We ended last year with 32 schools, and now we are at 42/45. We just keep getting more and more contacts that want more info about joining the organization. Probably by about springtime, we will have around 55 schools.

How are the NSESA Educating Parents and School Districts About Esports?

Nate Simons: There are a few of us that go out to different events or conferences in our areas. For example, there is a school board conference and school board members from around the state attend. We’ll set up a table and just talk to people. We’ll bring some of our student gamers along, because really, that’s who it is impacting. People can talk to adults all day, but it’s kids who are there and benefit the most.

Really just get their voices out there.

We’ll go to Admin Days, a conference for school administrators, and we’ll set up the same sort of deal there. At our state educational technology conference in the spring, we’ll set up something there. They actually host an esports tournament in partnership with us. That gets what we do out to more people so that they can actually see how it works.

It’s an easy way to get the word out there so people kind of understand what is. It’s incredible, people; their idea of video gaming is vastly different from what it actually is now.

What NSESA Want to Accomplish in the Next Three Years?

Nate Simons We honestly want to keep growing. We want more of our schools in the state to be a part of our organization. To offer this opportunity to our students. Some kids that are in esports are in other things. But, the majority of kids that we reach are not in other sports. They aren't in drama; they don’t do anything else. They may go home and play video games, but we’re offering them a space to do it, in a room, with their peers and develop relationships.

We’re really just trying to get the word out there so more and more people, even if they don’t join with us, at least know what esports is. At least they maybe want to get it started at their school. So our main thing is just to spread the word.

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