PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – Governor Kristi Noem today announced that Dr. Ben Jones has been appointed as the permanent Secretary of Education. Jones has been serving as Interim Secretary of Education since January 2019.
“I’ve been impressed with Ben’s work in the first four months we’ve served together, and I’m pleased he’s on board moving forward,” said Noem. “Ben shares my desire to ensure every South Dakota student has access to a quality education.”
“I appreciate the confidence Governor Noem has in me to lead this department and the dedicated professionals who make it their work to help our students, teachers and administrators,” said Jones. “It’s bittersweet to be leaving my position at DSU, but the opportunity to help Governor Noem enhance the lives of the next generation of South Dakotans is something I couldn’t pass up.”
Jones holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kansas. He previously served as the Dean of Dakota State University’s College of Arts and Sciences where he oversaw more than 50 full-time and adjunct faculty members. At DSU, he revitalized numerous programs to better equip students for modernized careers, launch innovative programming, and improve course content through interdepartmental collaboration. As Interim Secretary of Education, Jones has been key in developing the “Week of Work” program – an initiative to expose high school students to in-demand jobs.