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Avon’s Culver, McCook Central’s Swartos finalists for SDHSAA top job

PIERRE — A pair of area school administrators are among the three finalists to be selected as the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s new executive director.

Avon School District Superintendent Tom Culver and McCook Central School District Superintendent Daniel Swartos are both set to interview for the position today, along with Aberdeen Central High School Principal and current SDHSAA board member Jason Uttermark. The SDHSAA board is scheduled to meet with the candidates today in executive session in Pierre.

The current executive director, Wayne Carney, is set to retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year and has been the executive director since 2001.

Culver, who serves as the school’s superintendent and athletic director, has been at Avon for 18 years. His Pirates football teams have been recognized for their success at the state level, winning four state championships between 2002 and 2008 and he’s been inducted into the South Dakota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Avon was recognized earlier this school year for scoring well in the South Dakota STARS program (Student Teacher Accountability and Reporting System), with two of Avon’s schools earning “exemplary” classifications.

Swartos, a Volga native, has been the superintendent at McCook Central since 2012. Prior to that, he was the superintendent at Big Stone City for four years and has experience in the Estelline, Arlington and Brookings school districts. A Dakota State graduate, he received his master’s degree from South Dakota State University and his doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Dakota in 2012. At the Salem school, Swartos has presided over a $7 million renovation project that replaced a 90-year-old building facility with a two-story, 36,000-square foot addition with a stage, performing arts center, bathrooms, administrative offices and classrooms for high school and middle school students. The project is slated to be finished later this month.

Coincidentally, both Culver and Swartos are veterans of the South Dakota National guard and have served tours of duty in Kuwait.