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Armour native Tony Venhuizen picked to fill SD Board of Regents vacancy

Venhuizen returns to board he served as a student member

In this 2018 file photo, Tony Venhuizen, an Armour native, stands for a portrait in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Tony Venhuizen, a native of Armour, currently serves as Gov. Dennis Daugaard's chief of staff. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Gov. Kristi Noem announced Tuesday, April 6 that she will appoint Tony Venhuizen to the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Venhuizen, a native of Armour, will succeed Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls, whose tenure on the board ended in March. He will depart his role as Noem's chief of staff in late April, and his appointment will be effective at that time. The Board of Regents governs the state's six public universities, plus the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the South Dakota School for the Deaf.

“Tony has been an incredible asset to our team, and he will be missed. I am so grateful for his leadership and service to the people of our state," Noem said in a statement. "His institutional knowledge and experience will be an asset to the Board of Regents, and I look forward to working with him in this new role.“

Venhuizen earned his bachelor's degree from South Dakota State University and his law degree from the University of South Dakota. Venhuizen has served as Noem's chief of staff since April 2020, after having served in her office as a senior advisor. Prior to that, he served for eight years in the administration of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, including more than four years as chief of staff.

"It has been an honor to serve with Gov. Noem and her team over the past year, especially as our state confronted the COVID pandemic," said Venhuizen in a statement. "I always intended for my return to the governor's office to be for the short-term, and I am particularly honored that Gov. Noem has asked me to return to the Board of Regents."

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Venhuizen served previously on the Board of Regents from 2003-08, having been appointed three times by Gov. Mike Rounds as the board's student member. He has served on the board's academic and finance committees and on three presidential search committees. While in the Governor's Office, Venhuizen spent more than eight years as education policy advisor. He chaired the Council on Higher Education Policy Goals, Performance and Accountability and the Open Government Task Force. Venhuizen also served on the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the DakotaCorps Scholarship Board.

Venhuizen lives in Sioux Falls with his wife, Sara, and their three children.

Noem's next chief of staff will be her fourth person to hold that position during her first term as governor, after Venhuizen replaced Joshua Shields. Shields replaced initial chief of staff Herb Jones in October 2019.

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