SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has appointed one of her advisers as the next state secretary of education, her office announced Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Tiffany Sanderson is currently a senior policy adviser to Noem, with a portfolio that includes K-12 education, higher education and workforce development. Her appointment to education secretary is effective Dec. 9.

Sanderson replaces Ben Jones, who has been named the executive director of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Prior to joining Noem's staff in April 2019, according to her LinkedIn page, Sanderson worked for Nebraska-based e-learning company Vivayic as a learning solutions designer and relationship and account manager. Prior to that position. she led career and technical education system at the state Education Department, including the four technical colleges, and designed learning solutions for school systems and businesses across the country while working in the private sector.

“Tiffany will be a great leader for the Department of Education, and a true champion for our students, educators, and schools,” said Noem in the news release.

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Sanderson lives in Pierre with her husband and son. She's a Lemmon High School graduate with a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree in administration with an emphasis in human resource management from the University of South Dakota.

“I’m extremely thankful to the governor for this opportunity, and I’m excited to partner with educators as we set out to help our students in South Dakota,” Sanderson said. “As a mom of a middle-schooler, we can waste no time in strengthening our education system. It’s the most important work we can do for our kids and communities.”

Fugleberg can be followed on Twitter at @jayfug and reached at or 605-777-3357.