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Gov. Daugaard names next secretary of education

PIERRE — The superintendent of the Meade County School District has been named South Dakota’s next secretary of education.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced Monday evening Don Kirkegaard, of Sturgis, will serve in the position, succeeding Melody Schopp. Schopp announced in October her intentions to retire by the end of the year.

Kirkegaard, 59, will resign as superintendent as well as his position as president of the South Dakota Board of Education Standards — which he has held since 2006 — to become secretary.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the South Dakota Secretary of Education,” Kirkegaard said in a press release. “I have more than 30 years in K-12 education and I will try to use my practitioner perspective as South Dakota continues to move education forward.”

Superintendent in Meade County since 2011, Kirkegaard also was a principal in Bristol and principal and superintendent in Britton. The Trent native graduated from Flandreau High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, his master’s degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen and his specialist’s degree from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

Kirkegaard is also a member of the executive board of the School Administrators of South Dakota. Kirkegaard and his wife, Lois, have two children.

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