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Noem bypasses K-12 educator as chair of education standards, appoints businessman

PIERRE, S.D. – Kristi Noem has appointed a local businessman to take the place of the certified K-12 educator as chair of the South Dakota Board of Education Standards. Noem announced she has appointed Steve Perkins to the South Dakota Board of Education Standards, effective immediately. He will take the seat previously occupied by Becky Guffin.

Guffin, whose term expired Dec. 31, 2022, faced calls to resign from the board last year after reports surfaced that an assistant in her Aberdeen office was working to thwart adoption of the standards being proposed by a consultant who assisted the panel.

“Steve has grandkids of his own, and he realizes that their future is of the utmost importance,” said Gov. Noem. “He will always put the future of our next generation first in his approach to the Board of Education Standards, and that is why he is a great pick for this role.”

“Our kids are our most precious asset, and our standards should set them up with the best possible opportunity for success,” said Perkins. “We need to raise the bar for our children and work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Perkins has spent years in business, including as the principal of Perkins Consulting in Sioux Falls since 2006; the secretary and treasurer of New Horizon Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota, from 1997 to 2006; and the president and CEO of Ellison Meat Co. in Pipestone from 1997 to 2001. Prior to his career in business, Perkins served as city administrator for Red Wing, Minnesota, from 1992 to 1997; as the city administrator for Luverne, Minnesota, from 1986 to 1992; and as mayor of Pipestone, Minnesota, from 1977-1986.

On his Linkedin page, he describes himself as a, “retired business owner and manager with demonstrated experience in strategic planning, turn arounds, governance, municipal and business law, nonprofit fundraising, negotiations, teaching, coalition building. Now devoting volunteer efforts in benevolance promotion, non-profits and Christianity. “God has blessed us with faith, salvation, and success and in joy we now look to serve Him.”

Gov. Noem’s office stated that Perkins previously taught real estate education classes and continuing education classes at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington Campus; Southwest Minnesota State University; and through Community Education at Luverne Public Schools. He was also involved in establishing a three-way partnership between the City of Luverne, Sanford Health, and Minnesota West Community and Technical College to establish Associate of Arts degree programs for the career paths of radiologic technician, surgical technician, medical assistant, and lab technician.

Perkins’ past volunteer service includes serving as chair of the Luverne Community Hospital Board and Sanford Hospital Luverne Community Advisory Board, as director and trustee council member of the Minnesota Hospital Association, and as chair of the Committee on Governance for the American Hospital Association.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Business, and Political Science from Macalester College.

Perkins has four adult stepchildren with his wife Marianne. Together they have eight grandchildren.

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