Mitchell Board of Education approves three-year superintendent's contract extension

Move follows yearly evaluation of position

The Mitchell Board of Education approved a three-year contract extension for Joe Graves, superintendent of the Mitchell School District, at its Monday, Jan. 10 meeting.
Erik Kaufman / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — The Mitchell Board of Education approved a contract extension Monday night for Joe Graves, superintendent of the Mitchell School District.

The board, which approved the extension unanimously on a 5-0 vote, made the move as a cap of a nearly five-hour meeting at the Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy.

The decision came after an executive session of about 20 minutes, in which the board of education held the annual evaluation of the superintendent position for the district. The evaluation is held yearly, with the board usually offering a new three-year extension of the contract with compensation to be considered later in the spring, when other administrative salaries are set by the board.

"The evaluation was very positive. We are supportive of what he's doing for the district," said Deb Olson, chair of the Mitchell Board of Education, after the meeting.

The board offered the same kind of contract extension it had in the past, meaning that Graves again has a three-year contract in front of him.


When compensation was last considered for the superintendent of the district in April of 2021, the board approved a 3% raise for Graves, which brought his salary to $154,403 for the 2021-22 school year. Administrator salaries are considered, adjusted if deemed necessary and approved yearly by the board.

Graves said he was grateful for the positive evaluation and was looking forward to continue his work for the district going forward.

All members of the board were present for the meeting, though Brittni Flood attended by phone conference.

Truck bid

The board approved a bid for a used digger derrick truck for Mitchell Technical College.

Jan 10 Agenda by Erik Kaufman

The one bid was received for the digger derrick truck from Custom Truck One Source of Canton, Ohio. The bid came in at $111,985 for a 2013 International 4300 with a Terex Commander 4047 digger derrick. The bid met specifications and within budgetary expectations, according to Graves. The truck is needed for the school powerline program.

The board approved the purchase by a 5-0 vote.


Mitchell Technical College is also seeking a used bucket truck, but no bids were received for one. The district will now pursue competitive quotes for such a bucket truck, and once those bids are received, Graves will bring a recommendation to the board for that purchase at a later board meeting.


The board set a date of June 7 for the 2022 joint county and board of education election.

The Mitchell School District has operated its elections by combining with the City of Mitchell or Davison County or both for about the past 15 years. Holding the elections together allows both entities to reduce costs and enhance voter turnout.

Two seats will be up for election in the 2022 election cycle. Those seats are currently held by Kevin Kenkel and Deb Olson. Each seat is a three-year term.

Candidates interested in running for the board of education can pick up a nominating petition for the two seats can be taken out March 1.

The board approved the date of the election by unanimous 5-0 vote.



Also at the meeting, the board made the following personnel moves:

  • The new classified hires of Steven Runyon, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, $13.40, effective Jan. 4; Robert Pollard, custodian, $14 with 4 to 5 hours per day, effective Dec. 28, 2021; Henry Buss, driver of student to Sioux Falls daily for day school, $50 per trip, effective Jan. 3;
  • The new certified hire of Deb Thill, head track coach, $,4,219, effective 2021-22 school year.
  • The 6th class assignment of Danielle Erdmann, 6th class assignment; Robert Lemon, 6th class assignment and Heidi Cap, 6th class assignment. All assignment are effective Jan. 4.
  • The resignations of Conny Tschoepe, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, effective Jan. 27; Sarah Klentz, paraeducator, effective to be determined, and Kim Strehlow, food service at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective Dec. 22.
  • The new Mitchell Technical College hires of Jessica Deinert, student success coach/counselor, $18,072, effective Jan. 31; Janet Nicolaus, CIS 171 adjunct instructor, $2,250, effective Jan. 10 and Roxanne Hunt, nursing clinical adjunct, $6,440, effective Jan. 10.

Other business

Also Monday night, the board:

  • Held an executive session for nearly 4 hours to discuss a personnel issue. No decision was made upon returning to open session.
  • Heard board member reports.
  • Heard the superintendent report.
  • Heard public commentary.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. at Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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