Search underway for special school administrators

PIERRE – The search has begun for new administrators to oversee the two special schools in South Dakota serving students who are blind and visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing.

The South Dakota Board of Regents manages both the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Aberdeen and the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls. Last month, the longtime superintendent of both schools, Marje Kaiser, announced her upcoming retirement in May.

Paul Beran, the regents’ executive director and CEO, said the regents will seek to hire separate administrators for the schools, rather than a single superintendent serving both institutions. “This will allow for a dedicated leader at each institution, who can focus solely on the needs of students and their families who are served by each school,” Beran said. “We believe we can reorganize some positions and responsibilities to still be fiscally efficient under this scenario.”

The two schools will continue to share administrative positions in such areas as the business office and human resources functions.

“Dr. Kaiser offered a unique skill set and the willingness to manage both institutions. This arrangement has worked very well under her shared leadership at both schools since 2010,” Beran said. “For recruitment purposes, however, the regents believed it would be a challenge to hire someone with expertise in both fields and who could easily manage two institutions that are 200 miles apart.”

Regents’ officials said the search for the two special school administrators should conclude by sometime in March. The search processes at both schools will include input from advisory search committee members that represent constituencies to include employees and parents, as well as the foundations and advisory councils for the special schools.

Regent Jim Thares of Aberdeen and Regent Jim Morgan of Brookings will co-chair the search processes at the special schools.


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