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South Dakota’s longest-serving education secretary retires

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The longest-serving education secretary in South Dakota history is retiring this week.

The Argus Leader reports that Melody Schopp will retire from her role at the state’s Department of Education Friday after serving as secretary since 2011. She has worked for the department for about 17 years.

Schopp says the highlight of her career was working to pass legislation in 2016 that increased teacher pay.

During her term in office, problematic financial practices came to light after an education cooperative misused funds from Gear Up, a federal program aimed at helping low-income middle and high school students prepare for college. Several lawmakers criticized Schopp by saying she could’ve prevented the scheme. Schopp maintains that the issue was handled properly.

Don Kirkegaard will take over Schopp’s role in January. Kirkegaard currently serves as president of the state Board of Education Standards.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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