Regents choose Idaho official to replace retiring executive

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Idaho education official Michael Rush will replace outgoing South Dakota Board of Regents Executive Director and CEO Jack Warner, the board announced Monday.

Rush will assume the South Dakota role on June 29. He has served since 2007 as the executive director of the Idaho State Board of Education, where his duties also included working as Idaho's higher education executive.

The regents oversee South Dakota's six public universities and two special schools.

"It would have to be a pretty special opportunity to draw me away, and these folks are incredible," Rush told The Associated Press.

South Dakota Board of Regents President Randy Schaefer said in a press release that Rush has committed his working life to education.

"His broad experience and strong advocacy for both higher education and K-12 education made him a perfect fit for South Dakota and the Board of Regents' strategic priorities," Schaefer said.

Emma Atchley, president of the Idaho State Board of Education, said in a release that Rush has been an education leader in the state for almost 30 years.

Rush wants to enroll and graduate more students and to enhance research and economic development opportunities in South Dakota. He said it's clear the economic vitality of a region depends on the education level of its citizens.

"Education is one of the few government tools that we have at our disposal to truly impact economic development and to allow individuals to really participate in the economic fabric of our society," Rush said.

Rush is on the executive committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and serves as the chairman of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Rush lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife. Warner is retiring to Rhode Island, where he lived before coming to South Dakota, after six years with the board.

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