Billie Sutton Receive SDEA’s 2019 Friend of Education Award


For Immediate Release
May 8, 2019

Billie Sutton Receives SDEA’s 2019 Friend of Education Award

PIERRE – The South Dakota Education Association (SDEA) presented its 2019 Friend of Education Award to former State Senator Billie Sutton at its annual Representative Assembly in Pierre. SDEA/NEA’s Friend of Education Award honors a person or organization that has made a significant contribution on a statewide basis toward achieving quality public education for all students.   

“We are honored to present this year’s Friend of Education Award to Billie Sutton who was a tireless advocate for public education and a champion for South Dakota’s kids during his time in the South Dakota State Senate,” said SDEA President Mary McCorkle. “His commitment to reaching across party lines was was most evident during his time on the Blue-Ribbon Task Force.  He worked with Republicans, business leaders and education stakeholders and together brought South Dakota teachers out of the bottom in terms of pay.  Even though he is no longer in the State Senate, he continues to work for the children of South Dakota and that is why he is truly a great friend to public education.” 

Sutton was nominated by Dana Livermont of the Rapid City Education Association.  “When it comes to legislative action, educators continually relied on Mr. Sutton to support bills that improve the quality of education for the students of this state,” wrote Livermont in her nomination letter. “Similarly, he has been very reliable and vocal in voting against bills that discriminate against our marginalized youth or that weaken our collective voice as educators.”

“In reflecting on his tenure in the South Dakota Legislature, it is evident that Senator Billie Sutton has been a true ally to education, not only in his words, but also in his action,” wrote Livermont. 

SDEA is South Dakota’s largest education professionals’ organization, representing more than 5,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

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