South Dakota School Superintendents Assoc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS ASSOCIATION (SDSSA)
The South Dakota School Superintendent Association Executive Board is pleased to announce our 2021 Superintendent Awards. The 2021 Superintendent of the Year is Becky Guffin of the Aberdeen School District. Becky has served as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, adjunct professor, and superintendent in the Aberdeen Public School system since 1991. Dr. Guffin has been an administrator in the Aberdeen School District for the past 17 years serving as Superintendent of Schools since 2014. As Superintendent of Schools, Becky has successfully led building projects and consistently connect with staff and the community through multiple communication forums. Additionally, Dr. Guffin is known for her state leadership in education as she serves appointments on the State Board of Education Standards and the Blue Ribbon Task Force to name a few of her many appointments.
The 2021 Distinguished Service Award recipients are Roger Degroot and Joel Price. Dr. Degroot retired in 2015 after serving 40 years in education the last 8 as the superintendent of the Brookings School District. Roger began his career as a teacher in 1975. He served as the superintendent of schools in Lennox and Brookings. During his career, he served as an educational leader and mentor. He not only built schools in the Lennox and Brookings School Districts, but he also provided avenues for young people in the profession to earn advanced degrees. Dr. Price retired in 2019 after serving 33 years in education the last 17 as the superintendent of the Faulkton Area School District and Stanley County School District. Joel began his career as a teacher and coach in 1986. He served as the superintendent of schools in Faulkton Area and Stanley County. During his career, he led a Blue Ribbon School Excellence, connected with the community through active engagement in Economic Development, and connected communities through reorganization. Dr. Price believes strongly in the connection and impact relationships have on the character, growth, and personal development.
The 2021 Community Leader of the Year Award recipient is Brian Field. Mr. Field has served as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent for 34 years. Brian has been the superintendent in Beresford for the past 14 years. As Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Field has been a champion for the Beresford School District and the greater community. Brian developed and led the district through a 10 year strategic plan supported by uncontested opt outs. Mr. Field provides a model for other districts to follow in his development of the Watchdog Education Foundation, Hall of Fame, and Alumni Association. Mr. Field has not only made an impact in Beresford but also across the state with his servant leadership.
The 2021 Innovator of the Year Award recipient is Steven Willard. Dr. Willard has served as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent for 42 years. Steve has been the superintendent in Belle Fourche for the past 12 years. As Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Willard has been a champion for Career and Technical Education. He has led the Belle Fourche School District in an alternative calendar focused on remediation and enrichment programs. Dr. Willard has authored two grants supporting over one million dollars in innovative after school care. The Belle Fourche Board under Dr. Willard’s leadership has led the industry in CTE programing and partnerships with their relationship with Western Dakota Technical College. Dr. Willard is Belle Fourche’s biggest cheerleader and has tremendous pride in the community and his family.
The 2021 Rookie of the Year is Kimberly Kludt of the Deubrook Area School District. Dr. Kludt is in her third year as superintendent in Deubrook. She has engaged in her community and advocated on their behalf in Pierre. Dr. Kludt is committed to the students and staff of Deubrook. She continues to develop partnerships and relationships to provide opportunities for all.
These individuals will be honored at the annual Superintendent Conference held in July 2021.
Please direct any questions to:
Dr. Jennifer Lowery, Secretary SDSSA