The De Smet News

De Smet native Ben Jones heads to Pierre as part of Noem administration

De Smet native Ben Jones heads to Pierre as part of Noem administration

A De Smet High School graduate, Ben Jones, has been selected by Governor-elect Kristi Noem as the new Secretary of Education for her Cabinet.

Jones grew up in De Smet and graduated here in 1985. He currently has a doctorate in history and is the Dean of Dakota State University’s College of Arts and Sciences in Sioux Falls.

“I’m a product of public education and know from my experience growing up in De Smet that vibrant schools send out well-prepared kids. I plan on working with Governor–elect Noem to bring a new perspective to the Department of Education, developing a culture of performance, supporting teachers in their vital work for our kids and improving civic knowledge,” said Jones in a statement.

Noem’s inauguration will take place in Pierre Jan. 5. She has been busy making her Cabinet selections. In selecting the Secretary of Education, she says, “Ben Jones is an experienced voice and trusted leader in South Dakota education. Together, we’ll look for innovative ways to strengthen our systems, work to improve K-12 outcomes and make our education programs more applicable to the modern workforce.”

Selected as Secretary of Education would make one think that Jones is very political, but he says, “Not really. I’m very interested in politics, I have always been interested in politics. In the military, I was apolitical, or bi-partisan.”

Jones wasn’t selected as Secretary of Education as a political favor. He said, “I was happy to talk with Noem about being the Sec. of Education. The job is not an elected position, it’s an appointed one. I got the job because I applied on her web site. Noem looked at my resume and her staff contacted me, and we had a series of interviews and Noem selected me. Kristi is Republican, and I agree with most of the things she is trying to do and advocates for.”

“I am very excited about this opportunity, said Jones. “While this is not my expertise as a historian. I am very passionate about kids getting a chance to be in the best schools that we can provide for them.

“My PhD is in modern European history, but I can tell when somebody is thriving or not in their education and in their life.

“I see the results of things that schools do that aren’t working, and I’m excited to get the opportunity to help Governor Noem try to change those things and make improvements and ‘create a culture of performance’ as she says, with our school systems and with the Department of Education.

“We want to help the Districts be the most effective they can be for our kids,” said Jones.

Posted on 12-31-2018

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