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Retirement Ahead for Superintendent of SD Special Schools




News Release

Contacts: Janelle Toman, Director of Communications


Tracy Mercer, Information Research Analyst



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Retirement Ahead for Superintendent of SD Special Schools


PIERRE, S.D. – Marje Kaiser, a long-time educator in South Dakota and the superintendent of the state schools for the blind and visually impaired and the deaf, has announced her plans to retire next year, capping a 45-year career in special education.


“Marje Kaiser has devoted her professional life to educating students, supporting families, and serving South Dakota,” said Regents President Kevin Schieffer. “The Board of Regents has benefited greatly from her outstanding leadership and service to students and their families. We wish her all the best as she pursues new opportunities in her retirement.”


Kaiser’s service to students with special needs began in 1975, when she was hired as a deaf-blind program specialist at the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Soon after, she became the program’s coordinator and, in 1986, was named superintendent of the Aberdeen school. In 2010, Kaiser added another administrative role to her portfolio, serving as superintendent of the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls.


“I’ve been privileged to work with professionals at both schools who exhibit the highest level of professionalism. I am so proud to have worked with them and with our colleagues at the universities,” Kaiser said. “I can look back at the progress that we’ve made and feel comfortable that the two special schools will continue to serve students to the best of their abilities.”


Kaiser has been an active participant in her profession and her community. In 2009, she received the William H. English Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Council of Schools for the Blind. Among many recognitions, she has received the Woman of Spirit Award from the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, Distinguished Service Award from the Aberdeen Mayor’s Committee, and Lion of the Year by the Aberdeen Lions Club.


She earned her specialist and doctoral degrees in educational administration from the University of South Dakota. She also holds degrees from Northern State University and St. Cloud State University. She began her career in education in 1970 as a high school teacher in Minnesota and South Dakota. Her resume also includes time spent as an adjunct faculty member teaching special education at Northern State University.


Kaiser’s retirement from the Board of Regents’ system is official May 21, 2020. A search has begun for new administrative leadership at the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the School for the Deaf.