2017 SDEA/NEA Election


2017 SDEA/NEA Candidate Statements

Because the SDEA Officers and Board of Directors races are completely uncontested this year, the ballots do not contain these races. The SDEA Board of Directors voted to allow the Elections Committee to declare the winners of these races without the need to put the races on the ballot. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact SDEA President Mary McCorkle,, Elections Committee Chair Kim Soldatke,, or Elections Committee liaison Anne Plooster,

SDEA Officer Candidates:

President Candidate:

Mary McCorkle — Three years ago I ran for SDEA President because of my commitment to our members, our schools and our students. Much has happened in these three years.  We have grown membership, established strategic goals to guide the work of staff and our leaders, and to ensure that dues dollars are wisely spent.  We have rebranded to publicly declare “It’s all about our kids.”  We have reapportioned and created a Teaching and Learning staff position to meet the needs of our members in their classrooms. Most significantly, we worked with a broad coalition to bring $67 million new and ongoing dollars into a new funding formula to move SD from 51st.  I have been honored to serve as SDEA President.  I look forward to our future and pledge to continue to focus on building strong locals, membership growth and ensuring that SDEA continues to be a strong voice for public education.

Vice President Candidate:

Steve O’Brien — It is my intent to seek re-election to the office of SDEA Vice President.  I sincerely thank you for the three years I have served as your SDEA Vice President; it has been eye opening.  I have enjoyed the experience of developing relationships with so many teachers and partners in education.  I have learned so much about the successes and challenges in our locals, other states, and our national organization.  As a profession and as an organization we have made dramatic steps forward, but we have also learned that gains made require constant vigilance to sustain.  I whole-heartedly believe what we stand for is good; that it is right; that it is important to the teachers and students of SD.  I want to continue to bring our profession together in support of each other so that no one is made to feel that they are a lone voice.

NEA Director Candidate:

Paula McMahan — My name is Paula McMahan and I am running for the NEA Directors Position. In my 17 years of teaching I have seen many changes that I appreciated, and some I have questioned. My greatest desire is to continue to help education evolve with our growing needs.
It would be a great honor to represent South Dakota educators as the SDEA/NEA Director where I can work to keep South Dakota education advancing. It is important to me to make sure that we keep the values that make our education system in South Dakota great, while also ensuring that we advance with the necessary tools to provide our students with the best possible educational opportunities. Teachers and students alike in South Dakota need to be given opportunities to excel in their classrooms. It would be my honor to listen to and be the passionate, but assertive, voice of South Dakota educators. 

Board of Director Member Candidates:

Educators Guiding Learners

LouAnn D Jensen — I would be honored to have the opportunity to represent the educators of EGL on the SDEA Board. 

Eastern Prairie

Lisa Jennings — Let me put my years of local, state and national association experience to work for you.  As a NEA Director I know the importance of having educators involved in the discussions that happen around the direction of public education and I promise to represent you well.


David Sommers — I’ve been proud to serve on the Board of Directors the past two years. I took part in the lobbying for the sales tax increase but I believe there is still more work to be done. I’m excited to continue the work of the Board if reelected.

Dana Livermont — As a leader in my local association and member of the Western Uniserv team, I know that students and educators have very diverse needs in our area of the state. We need to have a voice that represents those needs on the BOD. Please vote for me to represent you!


Pam K Wells — I would be honored to serve as a Board of Director from the Plains Unit. I believe our association is the core leader in the professional development of the educators of SD. I would appreciate your vote for my candidacy as a board member from Plains Unit.

SouthEast Educators

Martin Sieverding — Thank you for allowing me to serve as a representative for the SEE (formerly SECOR) Unit in the past. I believe strongly in the South Dakota Education Association and it would be an honor and privilege to continue to represent you for another two years. United together for our kids.

COHE At-Large

Alan W. Aldrich — I serve as the University of South Dakota COHE Chapter President and the COHE at large representative to the SDEA Board of Directors. My academic background in communication and library/information science guide the kinds of questions I ask and helps to make me an effective advocate and board member.

Delegate-At-Large Candidates

Eastern Prairie

Jennifer Bergan Gabor —Continuing to be a part of the democratic process of the NEA/RA and representing fellow Eastern Prairie/SDEA members is a passion of mine and your vote will allow me to do so on your behalf this summer.

Josh Thomas —Working on the Board of Directors this past year has helped me to build relationships with community members, fellow members across the state, and local members. I would love the opportunity to continue to build relationships together for our profession, colleagues, and our students at the NEA/RA.

Virginia Colgan —As a parent and educator with experience in alternative education, I am passionate about the future of education in South Dakota. In this position I will strive to shape future legislation, listen to concerns and advocate for students and teachers to benefit all communities, with respect to our changing diversity.

Pam Oberembt —As SFEA president, I am privileged to serve at the local, state, and national levels. Work at each level is vital to public education, our educators, and our children. I’d be honored to continue that work on behalf of our members as a rep to the NEA RA this summer.


Rachel Rasmussen — I am a strong supporter of public education and continue to work in a variety of association roles. There are many challenges facing public schools. I am a firm believer that by working together we can improve our schools and the teaching profession for the benefit of our students. 

Robin Cline —I’ve been a Rapid City Education Association member for 14 years.  I am a Program Specialist for Rapid City Area Schools and have been a special educator since 1986.  I have been honored to serve as NEA Delegate the last two years and would love to represent our teachers again!

Dana Livermont —I would be honored to again represent my colleagues in the Western Unit at NEA RA. I am passionate about the rights of my fellow educators and am committed to working at the local, state, and national level to protect them. Please vote for me to represent you in Boston!

David Sommers —I’ve had the privilege of serving SDEA in many capacities the last few years including being a representative at the NEA RA. I would love to be able to represent the state and my district in that capacity again if elected.

Darcy Randle —I would appreciate the opportunity to serve as one of South Dakota’s voices at the NEA RA. As South Dakota’s representative on the NEA Resolutions Committee and as secretary of RCEA, I understand the value of the having our voice heard by NEA. Please consider casting your vote for me.

Sue Podoll — It would be my honor and privilege to serve as a delegate to the NEA Convention. Public Schools are essential to our democracy and our future. Now is the time to stand strong.


Krista McCorkle
— As co-chair of YESS, I’d like to attend the NEA/RA not only to advocate for our students and teachers, but also to build more relationships with other states about their early career educators. These relationships will help YESS and work towards keeping our early educators in classrooms for our kids.

Robert Smallman —As a member of the SDEA board of directors and a local leader in Aberdeen, I am committed to the successes of our local, state, and national association. I am excited to be your choice for representing SDEA at the national level. Thank you for voting. 

SouthEast Educators

Paula McMahan —I am running for NEA/RA Delegate in order to be able to network with other members and work to make changes that lead to action in education. It is important for South Dakota to have a voice and be heard on the national level. It’s my pleasure to represent South Dakota.

Educators Guiding Learners

No Candidate

NEA/RA Ethnic Minority

Deanna J Stands —Public education is vital for any democracy. As a long-time member of SDEA/NEA, former Minority-at-Large member, Wagner EA member, and OSEU team member, I will gladly serve as the next NEA/RA Minority Delegate-At-Large and NEA/RA Delegate-At-Large. Thank you for your vote!

Curtis Anderson —Hi my name is Curt Anderson. I’m a third grade teacher at Oglala Lakota County Schools.  I’ve always considered myself to be an active voice for all minorities. I would be proud to serve in this capacity for the state of SD. I would appreciate your support. Thank you.

NEA/RA Delegate-At-Large 
(All statements are above)

Rachel Rasmussen
Sue Podoll
Virginia Colgan
Pam Oberembt
David Sommers
Paula McMahan
Krista McCorkle
Jennifer Bergan Gabor
Robert Smallman
Darcy Randle
Robin Cline
Curtis Anderson
Dana Livermont
Josh Thomas
Deanna J Stands