Brenda Wade Schmidt
The Flandreau School district hired a Brookings accountant and former educator to replace long-serving business manager Lisa Sanderson who will retire January 31, 2019.
Stacey VanBeek, who works at Daktronics, will start Nov. 26 to train with Sanderson. VanBeek’s prorated pay for the year will be $33,683.
A former English teacher, VanBeek said she has wanted to be a school administrator and earned her master’s degree in educational administration in 2003. Business manager positions typically do not frequently come open, she said.
“I feel my background in teaching, my training in school administration and my experience in finance give me a very solid base for the business manager position,” she said. “I am honored to have been chosen for the role and will work to learn the ropes quickly.”
She also missed being in a school environment every day and said from her observations, the Flandreau School Board seems focused on doing what is best for students.
“That’s so wonderful to witness,” she said. “My goal is to help them meet those needs, while at the same time maintaining fiscal responsibility for the district. The school environment is constantly changing so we must evaluate what our priorities are from year to year so we can meet those needs as they arise.”
VanBeek graduated in 1999 from South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and taught English and journalism at Brookings High School from 1999 to 2006 and at Sioux Valley High School in Volga from 2007 to 2012. She started working at Daktronics in 2013 and started classes toward her accounting degree which she earned from Northern State University in 2015.
She worked as an account manager at Daktronics for the schools and theaters market while finishing her degree. After graduating with her accounting degree, she was accounts receivable specialist and most recently, held the position of staff accountant.
VanBeek, a Cherokee, Iowa, native, will live in Brookings with her husband, Kelly, and their children Sydney, 11, and Grace, 10.
She was chosen from among eight applicants, said Superintendent Rick Weber.
The school board also hired Travis Ahrens as the assistant activities director to oversee coaching and other activities’ staff. The position provides a buffer between the staff and Superintendent Rick Weber, who also is the activities director. Ahrens also will evaluate staff in those positions.
Ahrens previously was the school’s football and wrestling coach.
In other hires,
•Karla Kopejka was hired as the fifth and sixth grade Flier Time teacher.
•Lynn Soyland was hired as a speech therapist as needed.