West Bend School Superintendent looking forward to returning to South Dakota


February 13, 2020 – West Bend, WI – This week the school board in the Meade School District in South Dakota approved a $150,000 contract to hire Don Kirkegaard, the West Bend School District’s resigning superintendent, as an interim superintendent.

WashingtonCountyInsider.com broke the original story February 3, 2020.

Kirkegaard came from South Dakota. He said he and his wife Lois are returning to the home they built in the Black Hills. “We did not sell our house in the Black Hills,” said Kirkegaard. “We kept it with the idea that we knew that’s where we would retire.”

While Kirkegaard said he is “not ready to be done done yet …. the departure truly is a personal decision” he did admit he had been in contact with the Meade School District about its superintendent opening. He spoke with them January 13, 2020.


The Kirkegaard story was picked up by reporter Jim Holland at the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. Below is a portion of his latest story on the Monday decision by the Meade School Board.


STURGIS | When Don Kirkegaard first interviewed for the Meade 46-1 school superintendent’s job nine years ago, he remembers being asked where he’d like to be in 10 years.

“I said, in Sturgis at the Meade School District,” he said. “Obviously, I took a few detours since then, but it will be great to be back home,” he said Tuesday, the day after the Meade Board of Education offered him a one-year contract to return as interim superintendent starting July 1.


Last week, an online news source, Washington County Insider, reported that Kirkegaard tendered his resignation to the West Bend School Board after hearing of the opening in Sturgis.

He later confirmed his plans to return to the Black Hills in an interview with the Journal.


“It’s been a great decision for us, but was a really difficult one because the West Bend School District is a great school district, great administrators and teachers, and kids and supportive community and parents,”

“But I am excited. Once we made the decision to move back to South Dakota, we haven’t looked back,” he said.

Click HERE to read the full article by Holland in the Rapid City Journal.


In West Bend the school board met February 6 to discuss filling the superintendent’s position. District finance director Andrew Sarnow gave a presentation and addressed wage comparisons.

Lenny Hanson, the new director of human resources was not in attendance.

The board determined it would use the same search firm it used when filling the post after superintendent Erik Olson left.

The board indicated it would limit its scope in a search, cutting out the initial steps of getting input from staff, parents and the community since the last search was two years ago.

Board member Kurt Rebholz suggested students who were in attendance tell their favorite principals about the job.

The pay ranges discussed for a new superintendent in West Bend were between $160,000 and $180,000.

Meeting minutes from the February 6, 2020 meeting are expected to be posted later this week.

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