South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, appointed on Monday district superintendent Don Kirkegaard to serve as the state’s secretary of education for the remainder of Daugaard’s term.
Kirkegaard replaces Melody Schopp who resigned last month after six years in office. Schopp said she resigned to spend more time with her family. Lawmakers for several months had called for her to resign after it was revealed that she brushed off early warnings of the mishandling of federal grant dollars, according to the Argus Leader.
Kirkegaard has served for the last several years as a superintendent of Meade County Schools and is currently the president of the state’s board of education.
In an interview with the Argus Leader, Kirkegaard said he has a deep knowledge of districts’ needs in the state, but knows he will have a lot on his plate. The state’s department of education recently submitted its accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act and once the plan is approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the state will have to roll out a new school rating system.
South Dakota enrolls 17,000 students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.