Sanderson, Polak named to top SD government positions

PIERRE, S.D. — On Wednesday, Governor Kristi Noem appointed Tiffany Sanderson to be the next Secretary of Education, effective December 9. She will succeed Dr. Ben Jones, who was recently named the new executive director of the South Dakota State Historical Society.


photo credit: SD State Gov

Sanderson, who currently serves as a senior policy adviser to the governor, has career experience with K-12 education, higher education, and youth and workforce development.

“Tiffany will be a great leader for the Department of Education, and a true champion for our students, educators, and schools,” said Governor Noem.

Prior to her position with Gov. Noem’s office, Sanderson led South Dakota’s career and technical education system at the Department of Education, which included four technical colleges. She also designed learning solutions for school systems and businesses across the country while working in the private sector.

“I’m extremely thankful to the governor for this opportunity, and I’m excited to partner with educators as we set out to help our students in South Dakota,” said Sanderson. “As a mom of a middle schooler, we can waste no time in strengthening our education system. It’s the most important work we can do for our kids and communities.”

Sanderson currently lives in Pierre with her husband and son. She is a graduate of Lemmon High, earned a bachelor’s in agricultural education from South Dakota State University, and received a master’s in administration from the University of South Dakota.

Lorraine Polak was also appointed on Wednesday to be the new executive director of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, effective January 8, 2021. She is replacing Mark Lauseng as he retires.


photo credit: SDHDA
No photo of Polak available

Polak currently serves as the Director of Rental Housing Development and has worked with the SDHDA since 1998. She was previously with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“Lorraine has a great understanding of SDHDA’s programs and all the opportunities that they present,” said Governor Noem. “She will be a dedicated leader and an invaluable partner as it relates to carrying out SDHDA’s mission for the people of South Dakota.”

Polak was born in O’Neill, Nebraska and earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Chadron State College. She and her husband, Mike, have three children.

“I want to thank Governor Noem for this opportunity to continue to serve South Dakota’s citizens.  Working for the Authority has been extremely rewarding, and I am honored to accept this new role,” Polak said.  “The Authority’s board of commissioners and staff along with the partner agencies we work with are dedicated to providing affordable and appropriate housing. I look forward to ensuring that dedication meets the housing needs of South Dakotans.”   

Categories: Politics & Elections, South Dakota News