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Gov. Daugaard Makes Initial Appointments To Blue Ribbon Task Force On Teachers And Students

            Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard

500 E. Capitol Ave.

Pierre, S.D. 57501







FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CONTACT:  Tony Venhuizen or Kelsey Pritchard at 605-773-3212



Gov. Daugaard Makes Initial Appointments To Blue Ribbon Task Force On Teachers And Students


PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard today announced initial appointments to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students. 


The task force, which was announced by the Governor and legislative leaders last month, will reevaluate the current funding formula and make recommendations to the 2016 State Legislature for reform.


“My hope is that the Blue Ribbon task force will focus on three goals,” said Gov. Daugaard. “First, we want a quality system of schools focused on student success. Second, we want a workforce of great teachers. Finally, we want an efficient, effective funding system that supports those goals.”


The initial appointees, made up of representatives of the Executive and Legislative branches, will conduct stakeholder input meetings through the end of May, including meetings with school administrators, school board members, teachers and parents. After those meetings, additional task force members will be appointed to represent those stakeholder groups.


The Blue Ribbon task force will be co-chaired by Sen. Deb Soholt (R-Sioux Falls) and Rep. Jacqueline Sly (R-Rapid City). Sen. Soholt and Rep. Sly chair the Education Committees in their respective chambers.


In addition to Sen. Soholt and Rep. Sly, the initial appointees are:


  • Sen. Corey Brown (R-Gettysburg)
  • Sen. Troy Heinert (D-Mission)
  • Sen. Billie Sutton (D-Burke)
  • Sen. Craig Tieszen (R-Rapid City)
  • Rep. Justin Cronin (R-Gettysburg)
  • Rep. Paula Hawks (D-Hartford)
  • Rep. Mark Mickelson (R-Sioux Falls)
  • Rep. Steve Westra (R-Sioux Falls)
  • Dr. Melody Schopp, Secretary of Education
  • Tony Venhuizen, Gov. Daugaard’s chief of staff
  • Jason Dilges, Commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management


The Education Commission of the States is partnering with the state to offer data and policy analysis and technical assistance to the task force. After stakeholder representatives are appointed, the task force will continue to meet through the summer and will finalize its recommendations in the fall.