‘I will be in the seat, literally or figuratively;’ Sitting down with the next SFSD Superintendent


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – There have been many changes made to this school year, but a big one is coming to the Sioux Falls School District this summer.

Dr. Jane Stavem is no stranger to the superintendent seat. She comes all the way from the Lake Washington School District where she overseers around 32,000 students. But it’s not the long distance that has made this transition tricky.

“I’ve transitioned out of the superintendency before,” Superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District Dr. Brian Maher said.

Roughly two months from his contract expiring, current superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District Brian Maher says it doesn’t quite feel like the end.

“This year has been crazy with the COVID-19. I haven’t gotten into that ‘lame duck status yet,'” Maher said.

Feeling that same effect is incoming superintendent Stavem from the Lake Washington School District.

“It hit here a little earlier than the rest of the country. In fact, my district was the place that had the first confirmed death in Kirkland, Washington,” Stavem said.

She says that since then, communities across the U.S. have been taking similar steps in isolation, taking precautions, and shutting things down.

“She was helping us as a colleague really try and figure out what are we going to have to plan for in the coming days, and weeks, and months,” Maher said.

“How do you resume school and how do you keep kids learning from now until the end of the year, and that’s the biggest priority,” Stavem said.

When she moves here in late June, it will be all about taking it day by day.

“And then it’s going to be, ‘how do we – how do you resume some normal function?'” Stavem said.

There’s still uncertainty with how special events like graduation and competitions will go for students. Stavem says where there’s obstacles there’s also opportunities.

“We might have to look at, ‘what can we bring back,’ or ‘what can we do in some different ways for people to have a sense that they still got to have some of those special things,'” Stavem said.

While things have certainly changed, Maher reassures that one thing will always be constant.

“It was a fantastic place before Brian Maher ever got here and I want it to be a fantastic place long after Brian Maher leaves,” Maher said.

“I expect there are great and smart people in Sioux Falls and be nothing but helpful as I transition,” Stavem said

Even if she has to be apart, she’ll find a way to keep the community together.

“I will be in the seat literally or figuratively on July 1st and really looking forward to starting the year,” Stavem said.

Dr. Maher’s contract ends on June 30th and Dr. Stavem will officially take on the role on July 1st.

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