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Gov. Rounds names Secretary of Education

Gov. Rounds names Secretary of Education

PIERRE – Gov. Mike Rounds today announced that Dr. Rick Melmer, of Watertown, has accepted the offer to become the next Secretary for the Department of Education.

“Rick is a great leader, he is very knowledgeable about No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and above all, he genuinely cares about kids,” said Gov. Rounds on the appointment.  “We put out a nationwide search for the best candidate to lead our education department, and I am very pleased that we found that person right here in South Dakota.” 

Dr. Melmer has been the Superintendent of Schools in the Watertown School District for the past eight years.  Those responsibilities also include serving as administrator of Lake Area Technical Institute.  From 1991 to 1995, Melmer served as Superintendent of the Sioux Center Community School DistrictSioux CenterIowa.

“As a native of South Dakota, I have always had a passion for this state.  And as a life-long educator, I look forward to the opportunity to have an impact on each school district in the state,” said Dr. Melmer on the announcement.  “My family and I truly love the community of Watertown, and want to thank all of those who have made our time here so enjoyable.”

The mission of the Department of Education is to be an advocate for education and to facilitate the delivery of statewide educational services.  It promotes efficient, appropriate, quality educational opportunities for more than 150,000 students in South Dakota

Dr. Melmer succeeds Dr. Tom Hawley, who was appointed by Gov. Rounds to serve as the interim Secretary of Education. 

According to Gov. Rounds, “Tom Hawley has done an extraordinary job in serving as our interim secretary.  He led the departmental reorganization, initiated the integration of NCLB into the framework of the department, and led the search for our new secretary.”