BUSINESS OFFICE AT FREEMAN PUBLIC IN TRANSITION
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
A transition is underway inside the business office at Freeman Public Schools.
The Freeman Public School board last week accepted the resignation of Debbie Goossen, who started as an interim business manager in January of 2018 following the abrupt resignation of Ronda Rinehart and was hired to work in that capacity on a permanent basis in March of that year.
Goossen submitted her resignation — effective Monday, Oct. 2 — last Monday, Sept. 18, and the board met in special session Wednesday night accept her resignation with thanks for her service to the district.
Goossen did not elaborate on her decision, but told The Courier her resignation is for personal reasons.
Freeman Public has since hired an interim business manager in Tami Koppang, a retired 40-year career educator with background in school finance who lives in the Watertown area. Freeman Public Superintendent Jake Tietje said Koppang will start on Monday and work with Goossen on her final day.
“That’s important with a position like this,” said the superintendent. “Learning everything can be challenging, so this will help make her first few days a little easier.”
Tietje said the district found Koppang through the SASD (School Administrators of South Dakota), which has access to a pool of retired educators who may be looking for temporary work. She won’t be formally approved as the short-term interim until the October school board meeting, but Tietje said a small committee of school officials — formed at the same special meeting in which Goossen’s resignation was accepted — was permitted to appoint Koppang prior to official board approval.
Koppang will remain temporarily employed by Freeman Public through mid-December, which Tietje said should give the district time to find a permanent replacement for Goossen. An active search is underway through various forms of outreach, including advertisements in both the Area Wide Connection and Courier.
“There’s still a sense of urgency, but (with Koppang’s hire) the pressure is off and will allow us to do a proper search for that long-term hire,” Tietje said. “Our timeline is good.”