West Bend School District announces new Superintendent


May 29, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School District #1 has named its next superintendent.

Don Kirkegaard is currently secretary of education for the State of South Dakota and has 23 years of experience as a superintendent.

The West Bend School Board voted unanimously to hire Kirkegaard, he has accepted the position and begins his tenure July 9, 2018.

Kirkegaard is currently serving as secretary of education for the state of South Dakota. He left a superintendent position in 2017 after being appointed as secretary of education by the governor of South Dakota. Kirkegaard’s experience includes nearly 23 years as superintendent of both the Meade School District and Britton-Hecla School District in South Dakota. He was also a principal in the Britton-Hecla School District for six years.

“West Bend is an outstanding school district in a community I will be able to call home,” said Kirkegaard, “This position is a really good fit for me, as the skill set the school board is looking for is what I can bring to the district. I appreciate the governor of South Dakota allowing me the opportunity to serve as secretary of education, and look forward to bringing my background and experience to the West Bend School District.”

While leading the Meade School District, Kirkegaard oversaw the implementation of all-day kindergarten, one-to-one technology for all students grades 4-12, expanded credit offerings, the building of a new elementary school, and new partnerships with businesses to improve the CTE programming.

Kirkegaard earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from South Dakota State University, a master’s degree in school administration from Northern State University, and an educational specialist degree in school district administration from the University of South Dakota.

He was named South Dakota Superintendent of the Year in 2009. In addition, Kirkegaard was a member of the South Dakota State Board of Education from 2007-2017, serving as president of the board from 2011-2017. He was an executive board member of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement from 1992-2006, and a member of the South Dakota Governor’s Educational Task Force in 2003.

West Bend School Board member Ken Schmidt said, “Don will be a very good fit for the community. He is well qualified, and I look forward to having him lead the district.”

West Bend School Board President Joel Ongert said, “With Don, we’re bringing in a person who will be both a partner and a leader. Because his experience is significant, I am certain Don will hit the ground running in both the school district and the community. Our thanks to parents and members of the community for their involvement in the search process.”

So far the terms of Kirkegaard’s contract have not been released. Calls have been placed to board president Joel Ongert.

Former Superintendent Erik Olson’s salary upon termination was $155,000 a year.

During meetings with consultants McPherson & Jacobson the board had been discussing increasing the pay to $175,000 per year.


Photo courtesy South Dakota Department of Education

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