Books files for school board

Courtesy photo: Keli Books

Editor's note: Two additional candidates, Debra DeBates and Jade Withers, have filed nominating petitions for the posts opening on the Brookings School Board, the district announced Friday.

BROOKINGS – Former Brookings elementary educator Keli Books has submitted her petition for one of the seats for Brookings School Board.

There are two three-year seats up for grabs. They are currently held by incumbents Debra DeBates and Roger DeGroot. 

Books is the first candidate to submit her nominating petition in the school board race. The joint city-school election is set for April 13.

The Brainerd, Minnesota, native moved to Brookings 15 years ago. Books taught in the Brookings school system from 2007-2015, and she then transitioned to work for the South Dakota State University Foundation. Currently, she serves as the director of development for SDSU’s College of Education and Human Sciences.

“I just have this deep passion for learning and education for our children,” Books said. “I know how important teachers are – and especially with COVID …. I hope it’s been a wake-up call for all of us in so many ways of what our schools do for this community.”

Books had taught third grade at Central Elementary and then fifth grade at Camelot Intermediate School. Books said that she was one of the teachers who assisted in developing the now widely used mass customized learning program in Brookings. She also spent four years coaching the Brookings Swim Club and started the Swim America Lessons program in Brookings.

She also taught at Flandreau Middle School for a year and served as the Title I coordinator there.

Books has served on the East-Central Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board of directors for seven years. She is also currently a part of the Parent Advisory Council for the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education, the Hillcrest PTA, and also the Brookings Economic Development Corporation, specifically working on its Child Care Task Force and Early Learner South Dakota initiative.

“The one thing I really care about is that I’m committed to listening to more voices of children, and I think our teachers and schools do a good job at this, but I’ve never really seen that at the community or board level of listening to feedback,” Books said.

Books has two daughters in elementary school, and her husband, Peter, serves as the superintendent at Castlewood.

The deadline for school board candidates to file a petition is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, at the Brookings School District office, located at 2130 Eighth St. S.

Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]

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