PIERRE, SD (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem has decided not to re-appoint Jacqueline Sly from Rapid City, South Dakota School board standards and picked Rapid City’s Richard Meyer as a replacement.
This development was made public Friday at the board meeting in Rapid City. There was no public announcement.
Sly, a retired special education teacher and former lawmaker, was the council’s chairman before the removal. Vice President Becky Guffin led the meeting on Friday. She is superintendent of the Aberdeen School District.
Meyer, a dentist, attended the meeting. It abstained from voting on several sets of updated standards for fine arts and for vocational and technical education.
Meyer resigned last year from a state task force that had proposed new standards for social studies. He expressed his support for the governor. The state Department of Education later removed some references to Native Americans from the proposal without informing the task force members. Noem eventually dropped the whole proposal.
Over the past year, Noem has used executive orders and laws to target critical race theory in South Dakota’s K-12 schools and public higher education system. His April 5, 2022, Executive Order directed the state Department of Education to take various steps to ensure that the department and public schools do not promote “inherently divisive concepts.”
The Governor recently appointed a new smaller panel chaired by its Chief of Staff to propose standards for social studies. The group met privately on May 4.
The state council will hold a series of four public hearings after the new group presents its formal proposal. The governor appoints the seven members of the council who serve a four-year term. The council oversees K-12 education in South Dakota.
Previous Governor Dennis Daugaard appointed Sly to the board. Her first term expired on December 31, 2021. She continued to serve after that date. State law gives a governor 120 days to reappoint or appoint a replacement. A member of Noem’s staff phoned Sly on April 29 to tell her she would not be reappointed.
Sly, contacted by phone on Friday, said she was “grateful” to have spent more than 50 years in education as a teacher, legislator and board member. She wished good luck to the Board of Directors. She said the governor had obeyed the law.
KELOLAND News has asked the governor for comment on the decision.
Education Secretary Tiffany Sanderson said the social studies group would meet multiple times.
“They’re on track to present public comments in August,” Sanderson told the state board on Friday. The council would continue its hearings after that.
Sly was still listed Friday morning as a board member and state chairman. councils and commissions public website.