PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – Today, Gov. Kristi Noem appointed Matt Althoff as Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Social Services. Matt’s appointment will be effective January 23rd. Secretary Laurie Gill is retiring.
“Matt will bring empathy, humility, and a fresh perspective to the Department of Social Services,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “He recognizes that family is the foundational building block of our society and will keep that in mind every day. He has big shoes to fill following Laurie Gill’s long career of public service, but I am confident he is up to the task.”
Matt Althoff has served the Diocese of Sioux Falls for the past 15 years, including for the past 13 years as chancellor. He assisted Bishop Swain in developing the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, an outreach to homeless in the Sioux Falls area. He has also worked extensively with the administration of several social ministries carried out by or sponsored by the Church, including those involving education, healthcare, feeding, emergency shelter, and housing.
“I am incredibly grateful to receive Governor Noem’s appointment. It will be my honor to advocate for the most vulnerable in our midst, to ensure that protection and aid is delivered to them in an impactful way, and to exercise good stewardship with our precious taxpayer monies,” said Matt Althoff. “What a privilege it is to join the dedicated staff within the Department who face challenges in the lives of those they serve but approach those challenges as opportunities to build stronger families.”
Matt was raised in Yankton, SD. He received a Bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. He later received a Master’s in education from the University of Portland. Immediately following college, he participated in a service teaching program, the Alliance for Catholic Education, while teaching in Brownsville, TX and, later, in inner-city Milwaukee, WI.
Matt’s uncle and godfather, James Ellenbecker, served in the role of Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Social Services under Governors Janklow, Mickelson, Miller, and Rounds. Matt hopes to reflect some of the same charisms that his “Uncle Jim” shared during his tenure in office.
Matt and his wife Kate have seven children. They are grateful to consider Sioux Falls their home.