For the first time in about a decade, South Dakota’s School for the Deaf and School for the Blind and Visually Impaired will have two separate superintendents.
The South Dakota Board of Regents, which manages both schools, announced Tuesday the search has begun to find two separate administrators to oversee the campuses. The decision comes nearly a month after current Superintendent Marje Kaiser announced she would be retiring in May.
It also comes about a month after the Argus Leader finished publishing a seven-part investigation into how lawmakers and education officials have ignored the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children for decades, but it’s unclear whether the decision to split responsibilities again is related to ongoing deaf education shortfalls.
Kaiser became superintendent over both schools in 2010 when she served as superintendent of the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The regents initially made the decision after dismantling the School for the Deaf as a residential campus and transforming it into an outreach service model only.
Those outreach services are expected to serve more than 600 deaf and hard of hearing K-12 students by fall 2021.
“This will allow for a dedicated leader at each institution, who can focus solely on the needs of students and their families who are served by each school,” stated Paul B. Beran, the regents’ executive director and CEO, in a press release. “We believe we can reorganize some positions and responsibilities to still be fiscally efficient under this scenario.”