My family roots in South Dakota run deep as I am a 5th generation South Dakotan. I received my college education in Sioux Falls where I attended the University of Sioux Falls, receiving a B.A. in History/Political Science, a B.S. in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed). I also participated in collegiate athletics as a member of the USF basketball team.
Sioux Falls has been my home ever since I attended college in the city. Previous work experience includes serving as a staff member for then Congressman John Thune on his 2002 campaign, working as a grassroots organizer during the 2004 election cycle, and I was employed as a Graduate Assistant in the University of Sioux Falls social sciences department. Currently, I own my own public affairs and communications firm called Full Court Strategies Group. I also have had the privilege of serving the citizens of District 11 in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 2009-2010 and the State Senate from 2011-present.
My faith is the most integral aspect of my life. I feel blessed to have recently married my longtime friend Jill (Theeler) Schlekeway. Jill and I attend First Assembly of God Church in Sioux Falls. Jill and I serve on the state Board of Directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. I also currently serve as the FCA Huddle Leader for both Sioux Falls Lincoln and Sioux Falls Washington High Schools.
I grew up in Mobridge, South Dakota and am the son of two professional educators. My father Jim is a History and Government teacher at Mobridge High School where he also serves as the head boys basketball coach and assistant football coach. My mother Marilyn recently retired from a long time career in education both as a teacher and as an advisor for an educational service agency. My sister, Tami, resides in Tea, SD with her husband Andy, and currently works as an X-Ray radiology technician and athletic trainer.
I graduated with honors from Mobridge High School in 1996 and was named Co-Mr. Basketball my senior year. During the summer of 1996, I was honored to receive the Midwest Sports Channel High School Male Athlete of the Year award. This award was based on scholastic and athletic achievements as well as community service.