Governor Kristi Noem announced that Ben Jones, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education, will be taking a new position as State Historian and Director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, effective December 9, 2020.
“Ben has been a dedicated leader of the Department of Education,” said Governor Noem. “He has supported students and educators alike, working with schools on improving opportunities and outcomes in our K-12 schools. The South Dakota Historical Society will benefit tremendously from his experience and expertise.”
Jones replaces the retiring Jay Vogt who has served as the Director of the Historical Society since 2003.
Jones was appointed Secretary of Education by Governor Noem in January of 2019 and previously was Dean of Arts and Sciences at Dakota State University and a faculty member at the US Air Force Academy.
“I am looking forward to stepping into this new role serving South Dakota,” said Secretary Ben Jones. “Leading the Department of Education has been extremely rewarding. The Department’s people are deeply committed to students and their education; to supporting local libraries; and to making South Dakota’s compelling history more widely available. Now I look forward to being South Dakota’s Historian and working with the Society’s Trustees and members, universities, researchers, authors, archeologists, preservationists, and the public in preserving, promoting, and explaining our state’s history.”
Jones was born in Sioux Falls, grew up in De Smet, and after graduating from SDSU, served as a US Air Force officer for twenty-three years before returning to South Dakota. He has a masters degree in History from the University of Nebraska and a PhD in History from the University of Kansas. He’s the author of Eisenhower’s Guerrillas: The Jedburghs, the Maquis, and the Liberation of France and contributed essays or chapters to other books and presented his research around the United States and the United Kingdom.