Kirkegaard, Sly and Guffin appointments approved by Senate

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Kirkegaard, Sly and Guffin appointments approved by Senate

Three key appointments in education were approved earlier this week.


Members of the Senate voted to approve Don Kirkegaard as Secretary of Education, as well as former Rep. Jacqueline Sly and Aberdeen Superintendent Becky Guffin as members of the South Dakota Board of Education Standards.


“The man has dedicated his life to education,” Sen. Bob Ewing said of Kirkegaard during his speech on the Senate floor.


Indeed, Kirkegaard has spent more than three decades in public education serving as a teacher and administrator in three districts and, now, as the Secretary of Education for S.D.


“I’ve been impressed with his commitment and his diligence,” Sen. Jim Bolin, who oversaw Kirkegaard’s appointment hearing last week in Senate Education, l said.


Kirkegaard – who was appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard in November to the position – will serve out the remaining year of the governor’s term.


Guffin will fill Kirkegaard’s final year on the state board of education with her appointment confirmation.


“She cares deeply about the children,” Sen. Al Novstrup said in Guffin’s favor. “She cares deeply about education.”


In her 27th year in education, which has included 13 years as a teacher and 14 years as an administrator, including currently being in her fourth as superintendent, Guffin brings a wealth of experience to the board that includes her service on the Blue Ribbon Task Force, as well.


A fellow member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, Sly will take on a four-year term on the state board.


“My experience with Ms. Sly is she is fair minded and open to discussion,” Sen. Bolin said, adding that she is a “lifelong South Dakotan and career teacher.


Sly spent a career spanning decades in elementary and special education before retiring and being elected to the state legislature, where during her tenure she served on the House Education committee – chairing it for four years – and was also the Co-Chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force.


For updates on the latest from legislative session, check the ASBSD BlogTwitter feed and Bill Tracker page.

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