The Stanley County School District will officially welcome its new Superintendent on Monday, July 1. That new Superintendent, one Daniel Hoey, previously served as the Superintendent of Herreid School District in Campbell County. Hoey will take over from the retiring Dr. Joel Price. Price has been in education for over three decades and in March said that retirement “is just where I’m at in my career.”
The Capital Journal sat down with Hoey on Wednesday night, June 26, to ask him about his teaching experience, why he chose to work in Stanley County, and what plans he had for the school district in the days ahead. Here’s what Hoey had to say, edited for clarity and brevity.
CJ: What kind of experience do you have teaching?
Hoey: I am a lifelong educator. My mother was an educator… Teaching is kind of a family tradition, very much so.
CJ: You’ve mentioned that you’ve lived in Iowa; you’re living in Herried now. Where would you say is your hometown?
Hoey: I was born in Sioux City, Iowa, but my hometown — where I grew up — is Le Mars, Iowa. If you’ve ever had any Wells Blue Bunny ice cream you’ve had a little bit of my hometown.
CJ: And what made you decide to come to South Dakota?
Hoey: My first year of teaching in Atwater Cosmos Grove City School District, in west-central Minnesota, I had a [High School] student who is now the Superintendent of the Milbank School District. He’s been in South Dakota for probably a decade and a half now. He told me, ‘Mr. Hoey, you need to come out to South Dakota, all the old geezers are retiring.’ I asked him who he was talking about, and he said ‘guys your age!’ … He made a couple of openings aware of me, and one of them was Herreid School District, and that has worked out well. I served in Herreid in ‘17/’18, and ‘18/’19.
CJ: So why apply to a position here in Stanley County?
Hoey: In January I was approached [by SCSD]... That’s one of the common things I’ve heard time and time again is that there’s a family atmosphere here, and that is something that is very important to me. This is at the periphery of the size of a district I want to serve at... I want to know the kids and the families that I serve, and a district this size I think, ideally, places me in that position.
CJ: So any larger a district, you think you’d lose track of things, people?
Hoey: Just a general concept: A Principalship is an education position that has a little bit of business to it. A Superintendency is a business position that has a little bit of education to it. I don’t want to be removed from the educational process at its very core… I came into education to serve children. I don’t want to lose that ability or that reminder or that sight… In a district that’s bigger, I think you have more of a danger of that happening.
CJ: Is there a moment of your teaching career you’re very proud of?
Hoey: I had one student that, oddly enough, came from that same district as the student who’s now the Milbank Superintendent. In fact these two students were classmates… This young lady — I remember her in Accounting class, and I remember her in an Intro to Marketing class — ten years later, she found me through social media. She said, ‘Mr. Hoey, I was a single mother, I didn’t have a degree, I stopped at high school. But I went back for my two-year degree in Accounting because I remembered the love of accounting that you had in your class, and how you made it fun. I just wanted to let you know that I’m going for my four-year degree as well.’ She’s now the City Manager in a community close to where our paths first crossed… I have lived off that compliment for a long time, and it means something very deep to me.
CJ: Looking forward, are there any immediate improvements or changes you want to make when you officially become Superintendent on July 1?
Hoey: It’s never bad advice to assess the positives and not turn away from the negatives. I’ve always heard that this district is driven around family values and is close-knit. I look forward to accentuating that, I look forward to getting to know the kids, and honoring both our graduates who will enter the workforce immediately and those who will graduate and enter a junior college or a tech college, and also our four-year college attendees. I look forward to continuing those [graduation] numbers.
CJ: Last thing, Dr. Price has been in education for decades. As he’s stepping out, is there anything that you’d like to say to him as you step in?
Hoey: I am very thankful for Dr. Price… He and I have had good conversations and wide-ranging conversations, from educational-specific to the Stanley County School District, and also just familial, friendly conversations. He’s a good man, and I look forward to whatever he can provide for guidance — not only specific to Stanley County but also just picking up the phone and talking with him.
CJ: I think that’s just about everything. Thank you for taking the time to sit and talk today.
Hoey: No problem.