DeBates seeking second school board term

Courtesy photo: Debra DeBates

BROOKINGS – Incumbent school board president Debra DeBates has submitted her petition for one of the available seats on the Brookings School Board.

There are two three-year seats up for grabs, with the second held by Roger DeGroot.

DeBates is one of three candidates who have submitted a nominating petition so far. She’s joined by Keli Books and Jade Nelson Withers. 

The joint city-school election is set for April 13.

DeBates has several decades of teaching experience at several levels.

“I’m a retired teacher and teacher educator. I taught for 17 years in Canton, South Dakota. And then I returned and got my advance degrees at SDSU in teacher education with an emphasis in adolescent development, and I got my Ph.D. from Iowa State in human development. And then taught at SDSU for another 25 years,” Debates said.

She taught family consumer sciences education and agriculture education and the career and technical education programs.

“I’ve always been a proponent and supporter of education. It’s in my blood. Something that’s really important to me because I believe our future in our community is dependent upon a well-educated workforce and citizenry, and that’s one of the reasons I continue to be an advocate for K-12 education,” DeBates said.

DeBates has been on the board for one full term.

“I decided that with that experience I wanted to run again for another three-year term. I think we’ve started some really good efforts to start on the budgets, the modernization at Hillcrest and Medary – we’re making good steps in that direction, and I just want to ensure that we’re doing everything that we can to provide the best education for all students in our district,” Debates said.

This past year has proven difficult for the school board to manage the budget and school expectations, but the board is making progress in the right direction, she added.

“Even though it looks like there’s a lot of money coming into the district, it’s really just to deal with all the expenses that the district has incurred because of COVID,” Debates said. “I’m also an advocate for the alternative high school – though I’m not sure that we’re going to accomplish that this year what with budgetary issues and COVID.”

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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