PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Officials from three South Dakota K-12 organizations are complimenting Tiffany Sanderson as she prepares to end her time as state secretary of education.

Sanderson starts January 1 as the new president for Lake Area Technical College at Watertown She will succeed Mike Cartney upon his December 31 retirement.

Her move comes as the state Board of Education Standards considers proposed changes to social-studies standards that have generated considerable opposition from a variety of South Dakota educators and some school districts.

“While we didn’t always agree on the issues, Tiffany always showed respect for our point of view and the educators we represent,” said Loren Paul, president for the South Dakota Education Association, whose members include many of the state’s K-12 teachers and non-certified staff. “We wish her well in this next chapter of her career and we know the students at Lake Area College will benefit from her leadership.”

“The School Administrators of South Dakota has been very appreciative of the work Secretary Sanderson has done during her time in office,” said Rob Monson, the administrator group’s executive director. “We have also appreciated the two-way communication network that was of benefit for both the DOE and our organization. We wish her the best in her next role and we know LATC is going to do great things under her leadership.”

“I have great respect for Secretary Sanderson and am grateful for her leadership at DOE,” said Wade Pogany, executive director for Associated School Boards of South Dakota. “ASBSD wishes her well in her new career.”

The Watertown school district oversees Lake Area Tech. The Watertown school board decided at a special meeting November 23 to hire Sanderson and issued a statement immediately afterward.

The new Lake Area contract calls for Sanderson to receive $78,000 for the first six months, equivalent to $156,000 annually. Her annual state contract as education secretary was $142,938.79. Cartney’s most recent contract was for $152,622, which included a $5,000 annuity. His previous contract was for $144,266, including the $5,000 annuity.

Governor Kristi Noem, who directed last year that the second set of proposed standards be developed, hasn’t responded to several requests from KELOLAND News for comment on Sanderson’s departure or explained a succession plan for the state Department of Education since the announcement that Sanderson is leaving. The governor announced Sanderson’s hiring in 2020.