Yankton superintendent pleads guilty to DUI

The Yankton School District's superintendent was sentenced in Vermillion Tuesday morning for a charge relating to a DUI arrest in October.

Joseph Gertsema pleaded guilty to first-offense DUI, and was fined $350. He will have to pay an additional $170 in court-related costs, as well.

Magistrate Judge Tami Bern also revoked Gertsema's driver's license for a period of 30 days.

"I'm glad it's over, and I look forward to spending Christmas with my family," Gertsema said following the hearing.

Gertsema's court appearance comes on the heels of his resignation as superintendent, which the Yankton School Board accepted at their regular meeting Monday night.

His resignation will be effective June 30, 2013.

"The board is certainly very appreciative of Dr. Gertsema's 22 years of dedicated service to our district and our community," said school board president Chris Specht at Monday's meeting.

Gertsema said Monday that the accomplishment for which he felt the most pride was that of student achievement.

"The thing that has really driven me, contrary to what some people may think, has always been the kids," he said. "Without the students here, we don't need to be here tonight."

Gertsema was arrested at approximately 1:20 a.m. Oct. 7 after failing a sobriety test at a South Dakota Highway Patrol checkpoint about three miles east of Vermillion on Highway 50.

– Press & Dakotan reporters Derek Bartos and Nathan Johnson contributed to this report.

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