“To Build Knowledge and Skills for Success Today and Tomorrow”
Four people are running for the three Meade School Board seats up for election June 6. Vying for the three three-year terms are incumbents Dennis Chowen, Sturgis, Courtney Mack, Sturgis, Joseph Urbaniak, Union Center and past board member, Juanita Harrington, Piedmont. For information about polling locations and absentee voting, call the Meade School District business office at 347-2523.
Dennis Chowen has served on the school board for 12 years and is running for re-election because he cares about the students and staff of Meade School District. Dennis considers the school district a leader in technology throughout the entire state of South Dakota. "I would like to see all classrooms, schools and students have access to the most advanced learning technologies. We must also continue to employ and provide higher wages for qualified teachers. His biggest concern is how the board will provide classroom space for the district's increasing enrollment. During his tenure on the school board, he has served on every committee. He is a trustee on the South Dakota Retirement System Board for three years and served eight years as a member of the Protective Trust for the Associated School Boards of South Dakota. Dennis is a council member at Grace Lutheran Church and board member of Action for the Betterment of the Community and Sturgis Area After-School Program. He is also a life member of the National Education Association, American Legion Military Officers Association of America, American Legion and Disabled Veterans. Dennis and his wife Roxie have three adult children and seven grandchildren. He has a Master's Degree in Education was a former teacher for 40 years and principal in Butte and Meade Counties for six years. He is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and works part time at Kinkade Funeral Home in Sturgis.
Juanita Harrington has been a past board member and served for three years. She is running again because she is very passionate about providing education for all students and helping them learn in ways that work for them. She is proud of the district’s time and commitment into making sure students with different abilities are successful and included in the main classrooms. Juanita is also pleased with the district’s strong commitment to their staff. As a member of the school board, she has served on the Negotiating Committee and Building Committee. Juanita has served as past school board representative on the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative Board of Directors. She is active with South Dakota Advocacy, sitting on the Protection and Advocacy for Developmental Disabilities Council and the South Dakota Governing Board for South Dakota Advocacy. She is also a board member of Roots to Wings Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Support Group. She is a member of the South Dakota Association of Office Educational Professionals. Juanita and her husband LeRoy have six children. Juanita is an alumna of SBHS and works for Douglas School District as the warehouse manager.
Courtney Mack has been on the school board for six years and is running for re-election because she enjoys serving the community. "I'd like to continue serving in this capacity because there are a few major projects that I would like to see accomplished," she said. One of those projects is the Stagebarn-Summerset middle school and a new rural attendance center. For the past two years, Courtney has served as vice president of the school board, a position elected by the board members. She has served on the Teacher and Support Staff Negotiations Committee, Buildings and Grounds Committee, and Employee Recognition Committee. Courtney is currently serving as the Meade, Butte & Lawrence County Housing Hearing officer and Planning and Zoning board member for the City of Sturgis. She is an active member and treasurer of the Parent Teacher Association at Sturgis Elementary and a weekly volunteer for a first grade classroom at Sturgis Elementary. Courtney and her husband Dale have three children, Lucas, Emma and Leah.
Joe Urbaniak has been a board member for the past three years. He is running for re-election because he is a parent of two sons who are students in Meade School District and he would like to ensure that they receive the same high-quality education that he received, if not better. “We owe it to our children to give them a higher-quality education than we received,” he said. Joe feels the school district is doing a good job staying on top of technology in education, but thinks the agriculture department and ag-related classes at the high school could be improved and strengthened, especially since agriculture has such a major impact on Meade County and South Dakota. He is proud of Meade School District's teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff and administrators. "They have a demanding job and are the district's greatest asset," he said. Joe is a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and a 4-H shooting sports instructor with the Meade County Shooters. He helped establish the Rural Meade County Parent Teacher Organization for which he has served as president. He and his wife Missy have three children. Bailey is an eighth grader and Everett is a second grader next year at Atall. Cooper, who passed away after a long battle with cancer, would have been in sixth grader. Joe is a graduate of Sturgis Brown High School and Western Dakota Tech with a degree in welding. He is a fifth generation rancher and also owns and operates Urbaniak's Metal Company.