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First female superintendent of Mount Rushmore enjoys retirement

Black Hills Backstory: Cheryle Schreier
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:23 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -It’s said that behind every great man is a great woman.

And until 2019, Cheryle Schreier was the woman behind the Founding Fathers at Mount Rushmore as the first female superintendent.

“About when I was 12 years old, or so I had seen a park ranger on vacation at Mt. Renier, and I thought that would be a great career,” Schreier said. “So I went to college and started to embark on a National Park career back in 1979.”

After her superintendency at two national historic sites, she became the first female superintendent at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. But her journey was not without difficulty in a male-dominated world.

Schreier said, “My first permanent job at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. And when I was first hired, the individual who hired me felt like he was meeting some kind of a quota by hiring a woman. And I just let that slide and pass. And I was able to prove I could do that job just as well as any male ranger.”

Schreier has many fond memories of her career, but there’s one memory of another strong female that will always stick out among the rest.

“Instaneoulsy, when Michelle Obama and her daughter came to visit back in March of 2011. That was just a phenomenal experience to be able to tour Michelle Obama and the girls around the memorial. That was one of the true highlights.”

Schreier’s highlights aren’t all positive. She was criticized for her outspoken opinion on the fireworks display at Mt. Rushmore in the summer of 2020. However, she says she doesn’t mind because she spoke out for the right reasons.

“I always felt that on a day like July 3 or 4, we should never close down the memorial to other people. So, it was for multiple reasons. I don’t mind receiving any flack about it,” Schreier said.

Officially retired, Schreier now calls the Black Hills home.

“The national park service is near and dear to my heart along with the natural world,” Schreier said. “And I feel so fortunate to live in the Black Hills. We have such incredible resources.”

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