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School of Education Dean Rick Melmer is leaving USD to serve as advisor for state national

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota announced today that Rick Melmer, Dean of the School of Education, is stepping down to become an advisor for several educational agencies at the state and national levels.

Melmer, whose last day at USD is June 21, has served as the Dean of the School of Education since 2008. Prior to joining USD, Melmer served as Secretary of Education for the State of South Dakota. During his tenure, Melmer secured critical support from the Bush Foundation that has enabled the transition of USD’s teacher education programs to a full-year residency program.

“As dean, Rick has been integral in his support of advancing educational opportunities for all South Dakotans, not just students at USD,” stated Chuck Staben, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at USD. “Through his leadership, the School of Education acquired federal support for a program to enhance training of Lakota language educators and he led a reorganization and curricular renovation that led to the creation of the Division of Kinesiology and Sport Science.”

Melmer, who was appointed Secretary of the Department of Education in June 2003 by Gov. Mike Rounds, has been a member of the board of directors of the Council of Chief State School Officers, including past president. Additionally, Melmer has been a member of the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education since 2005. Prior to his appointment as Secretary of the Department of Education, Melmer was superintendent of schools in the Watertown, S.D., School District for eight years where his responsibilities included serving as administrator of Lake Area Technical Institute. From 1991 to 1995, Melmer was superintendent of the Sioux Center Community School District in Sioux Center, Iowa.

A South Dakota native, Melmer received an Ed.D. in elementary administration from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in elementary administration from South Dakota State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology from Dakota Wesleyan University. A photo of Melmer is available for download at


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News