Dina Vanderwilt, Mitchell

I teach Kindergarten at L.B. Williams Elementary in the Mitchell School District. I have been a member of SDEA for 10 years. I joined SDEA so that I would have a voice and the “reassurance that someone has my back as a teacher.” SDEA gives teachers the resources and support to make a difference in students' lives. SDEA is a great place to connect with teachers in South Dakota so that we can learn from each other.

Meghan Wounded Head, Sioux Falls

I'm Meghan Wounded Head, and I teach Accelerated English 2 and AP Literature. This is my eighteenth year of teaching, the past seven at Sioux Falls Washington High School. While I've only been a member of SDEA/SFEA for a few years, I originally joined for security/protection. Serving as high school director for my local, SDEA/SFEA has really given me a spark. As I've grown to further understand the advocacy of SDEA/SFEA, I now know my role in SFEA to give teachers a voice and a positive boost so we can do what's best for our students. I want my colleagues to know we are there for one another and when united, we are stronger. That's what is most important to me - support and collegiality. We all do good things for the children we see every day; Let's support one another along the way. SDEA/SFEA gives us the platform to do that.

Alison TerHorst, Sioux Falls

My Name is Alison TerHorst and I am a teacher at Washington High School in Sioux Falls. I teach Psychology I & II, AP Psychology, and Teacher Pathway. I have been teaching for 14 years and have been a part of SDEA for 14 years. To be honest, in the beginning I joined because it sounded like a good protection plan, like insurance. I don’t think I fully understood what the SDEA did. But after building relationships with the past two presidents of the SFEA Pam Oberempt, and Tony Martinet, I am so appreciative of everything they do to support me. I have had a lot of medical scares in my family and the presidents have always helped me know how much time I get and really just helped me in both professional and personal ways. Every year there is something different that I find to appreciate.

Penny Shuster Louks, Belle Fourche

Penny Shuster Louks; Belle Fourche Education Association; 8th Language Arts; I have been a member of SDEA since 2004; previously, I was a member while teaching in Casper, Wyoming and a student member at BHSU as well. My reasons for joining SDEA are to engage with other professionals, to safeguard my rights as a teacher, and to advocate for new and continuing educators. The best parts about joining SDEA have been the opportunities to participate in continuing education that is meaningful and to work in my local, supporting others and effecting change within the district and my building.

Nicole Dallman, Mobridge-Pollock

My name is Nicole Dallman. I have been a member of SDEA for 15 years with the last four years being at the Mobridge-Pollock School District where I am a 3rd grade teacher. I became a member of SDEA at the beginning of my teaching career because I was looking for the insurance. What I didn’t know is that SDEA is so much more. I was able to get classroom support through Professional Development that was brought into our school district by MPEA. I also gained the support and comradery of fellow teachers that are also members.

Mallory Meier, Pierre

My name is Mallory Meier. I am a member of the Pierre Education Association. I teach 8th Grade US History at Georgia Morse Middle School and have been a member since my freshman year at Dakota Wesleyan University. I initially joined because I had to, but quickly realized the value in being a part of a professional organization. From professional development to advocacy and everything in between, SDEA has been an invaluable part of my teaching career.

Caroline Thompson, Elk Point, SD

Salutations fellow members and educators! My name is Caroline Thompson and I am part of the EPJEA. I will teach first grade this coming school year. I have been a member of SDEA for three years. Initially, I joined SDEA for the liability protection benefits. It wasn't until this summer that I really began to see the benefits of SDEA membership. The professional development offerings and personal connections made within this exceptional organization are amazing and lasting. The best part about being part of SDEA is the ability to be an active voice to advocate for real change within our educational system. I look forward to using my voice and hope others will join in order to make our collective voice louder, stronger, and heard. Our students deserve strong and vocal advocates.

Fallon Budmayr, BHSU

Hello! My name is Fallon Budmayr. I am currently attending Black Hills State University as an Aspiring Educator. At BHSU, I am studying Special and Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood. I have been a member for a year now. My reason for joining SDEA is because coming into my freshman year, I was eager to get involved in clubs who would be able to help further benefit my future as an Aspiring Educator. I was introduced to our local association, then the state association, and lucky enough this year to also be introduced to the association on the national level. As I was able to attend both the Aspiring Educator Conference and Representative Assembly in Houston, Texas. The possibilities through SDEA/NEA are endless. The best part of joining is that I have connected with so many others as a support system with similar values. Lastly being an active voice for educators is very important to me, and SDEA/NEA allows me the opportunity to do that.

Charles Arseneault, Custer, SD

I am Charles Arseneault and I have been an educator for 28 years. In Junior High I teach 7th and 8th computers and IT as well as US History. At the High School level I teach Computer Tech and Video Production as well as being the Website Advisor. I am also currently the President of the Custer Education Association and have been for the last 12 years. I have been a member of SDEA for all 25 years in Custer and I became a member because of a bad experience in my previous teaching job. Our association is a must have not only for liability but for representation and recognition. Being a member is about being a leader and joining in on the operations of your association.

Tony Martinet, Sioux Falls, SD

My name is Tony Martinet.  I am finishing my first year as the Local President in Sioux Falls. I have been in education for 14 years, with 10 of those teaching high school Speech/Debate/Composition. I joined the association when I first started teaching to be a part of my professional organization. I have stayed with SFEA and SDEA to have the means to advocate for my profession. No other organization allows me the chance to develop as an educational leader and truly influence my own profession. The more involved I have become, the more I have benefited from the association.