Two new individuals await confirmation to join the state education board.
Gov. Kristi Noem appointed Phyllis Heineman and Julie Westra to the South Dakota State Board of Education. Heineman and Westra await final confirmation from the Senate Education committee and full Senate.
Heineman served 16-years in the legislature, most recently in the Senate, serving in the body from 2011 to 2016. In 2016, Heineman was the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 159, which uses tax credits from the insurance company premium and annuity tax to fund private school scholarships, that narrowly passed the legislature.
She is also a former teacher and has served on the Sioux Falls Catholic School Board, the Dakotabilities board and Junior Achievement board.
“While good, challenging educational standards are important, great teachers are the key to student success,” Heineman said in a statement released by the Governor’s office. “I look forward to supporting the work of South Dakota teachers through my role on the board.”
Westra served three years on the Sioux Falls School Board and has also served on the South Dakota Professional Administrators Practices and Standards Commission. She owns and manages a real estate business in Sioux Falls.
“I am honored to serve on the South Dakota Board of Education Standards,” Westra said in a statement released by the Governor’s office.
“Education and how we shape the future for our next generation have always been very important to me. I look forward to making a positive impact on the education of our students.”
Heineman will succeed Gopal Vyas, whose term expired in December 2019. Westra will succeed Susan Aguilar whose term also expired in December 2019. Both will serve four-year terms, which expire in December 2023.