Meet the Board of Education
Curt Pochardt took a seat on the Board in July, 2018. He is a native of Sioux Falls and has lived in Rapid City for 35 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from USD and did graduate studies in education at the State University of New York, Oswego.
Curt says he decided to run for the Board of Education because of his life-long commitment and dedication to public education. For several years he served as a substitute in the Rapid City schools and says proudly he enjoyed working in every school in the District – even some no longer in operation. Paraphrasing Willie Nelson, Pochardt says “My heroes have always been teachers,” adding that “they still are it seems.”
Curt is the Area 2 representative, 2018-2021 Click here for an Area 2 map.
Cell: (605) 381-4633
Matt Stephens, 1st Vice President
Matt Stephens has been a member of the RCAS Board of Education since July 2012. Stephens holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics from the University of South Dakota and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He maintains a private law practice at Stephens Law Office where he has been in practice since September 1994. Stephens is a former member of the South Dakota Army National Guard, where he obtained the rank of First Lieutenant.
Matt and his wife Vicki have three children.
Matt is the Area 1 representative, 2018-2021. Click here for an Area 1 map.
4513 Jewel Court
Rapid City, SD 57701
Cell: (605) 484-1784
Kara Flynn, Board Member
Kara is the Area 3 Representative, 2019-2022. Click here for an Area 3 map.
Kara Flynn was born and raised in Sioux Falls and moved to Rapid City in 2004. She and her husband Leo have two sons who are currently students at Stevens High School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s degree in Geography from South Dakota State University.
Kara believes in the power of public education to create community and change lives. In college, an education policy class familiarized her with the funding mechanisms of public education, the need to create educational equity and the politics involved. The class opened her eyes to the forces that create school district budgets and policies. In her professional life as a planner, she provided Census data to local jurisdictions, redistricted boundaries, and researched and authored Public Participation and Environmental Justice Plans. After her children were born, she became a full-time parent. She began volunteering in her son’s schools and eventually took on educational issues at a districtwide level. This involvement led to her being elected to the board of the Rapid City Public School Foundation (RCPSF), serving as the Education Co-Chair for the City of Rapid City’s Cultural Plan and serving on the RCAS Long Range Plan Committee. She was the Executive Director of the RCPSF from 2017-1018. Every parent wants the best for their children and Kara pledges to be a tireless champion of public education causes and an articulate advocate for RCAS programs and needs within the community.
3771 Ireland Place
Rapid City, SD 57702
Jim Hansen, Board Member
Jim is the Area 4 Representative, 2020-2023. Click here for an Area 4 map.
Clay Colombe, Board Member
I am Clay Colombe. I was born and raised in Mission, South Dakota. Both my wife and I are enrolled members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. We live and work in Rapid City and we have
three children in every level of the RCAS –one at Central High, one at South Middle, and one at Wilson Elementary.
I attended the University of South Dakota, receiving my B.S. in Business Administration in 2001 and my MBA in 2003. My career has been in finance: as a commercial banker with Wells Fargo, as the Chief Lending Officer for the Native American Bank, and as the Managing Director for a private equity fund. I am now the Chief Financial Officer for Rosebud Economic Development Corp (REDCO) in the Rapid City office.
I look forward to representing our community and our school district!
Clay is the Area 5 Representative, 2020-2023. Click here for an Area 5 map.
As a parent in the Rapid City school system, she has been actively engaged in the schools as an education advocate from numerous platforms including classroom teacher volunteer, Pinedale PTA member, Stevens High School Parent Network member, RCAS Parent Key Communicator, RCAS instructional Council member. She has served as the PTA President at West Middle School for the past 4 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from Purdue University.
Amy has lived in Rapid City for 23 years, having returned with her husband Don as he joined the family business They have 5 children, 3 currently in Rapid City Area Schools and two graduates from Rapid City Stevens High School.
Amy is the Area 6 representative, 2019-2022. Click here for an Area 6 map.
Cell: (605) 391-6743
Kate Thomas, Board Member
Kate Thomas joined the RCAS Board in July 2015. She is currently serving her second term. She has lived in Rapid City for 38 years. She attended Pinedale Elementary as a child. When her father changed jobs from the Air force to Northwest Airlines, she and her family moved to Minnesota for 2 years. She is a graduate of St. Thomas More and has been married to Vince Thomas (Stevens HS) for 22 years. She is a parishioner of Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She has 7 children. Her oldest has graduated from Lincoln Tech in Denver, CO and lives in Rapid City at this time. Her 2nd eldest is attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Her 3rd eldest has intentions of attending a community college in CO. While being an advocate for excellent public school teachers she currently home educates 4 children, 2 of which dual enroll at Central. She is dedicated to ensuring that children in this district have the appropriate and evidence-based researched curriculum to fill in the gaps they need, in reading & math, for their future success.
Kate is the Area 7 representative, 2018-2021
6907 Greenfield Drive
Rapid City, SD 57703
Home: (605) 393-8689
Dr. Lori Simon joined the Rapid City Area Schools in July 2016. Dr. Simon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, an Education Specialist degree from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Dr. Simon has been a kindergarten teacher; a high school special education teacher; an elementary, middle school, and high school administrator; and has served in two assistant superintendent roles previously. All of her administrative experience has been in large urban or suburban school districts. Dr. Simon has presented at several national education conferences on the topics of school improvement and student engagement, and has been recognized by the Minnesota Department of Education and the National Youth Leadership Council for her work with youth engagement.
Dr. Simon and her husband Gary have two adult sons and three grandchildren.