Darla Biel earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS, a M.A. and M.F.A. in English from Iowa State University and Pacific University respectively, and a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University. She expects to complete her Certificate in Child & Adult Advocacy Studies from the University of South Dakota in Dec. 2021.

Biel taught writing courses at GrandView College and Iowa State University before teaching at South Dakota State University, where she also collaborated with colleagues across disciplines on sustained creative and research projects. After leaving higher education, Biel became Executive Director at the Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program (BCYMP), where she implemented evidence-based best practices, aligned and assessed BCYMP using the Developmental Relationship Framework, increased Mentors’ capacity to serve Mentees with ACES, and led BCYMP to becoming one of only 33 mentoring programs nationally to earn a Disability Mentoring Certificate.

Biel also served on the facilitating team that led Brookings County residents through the Resilient Communities:South Dakota process and is passionate about helping other communities increase their capacity to collectively know, respond to and prevent child maltreatment. In addition to serving on a Rotary District 5610 committee that works to increase awareness of human trafficking and the correlation between ACES and victimization, Biel serves on the boards of Ascension Lutheran Church in Brookings, the South Dakota State Poetry Society, and the South Dakota Nonprofit Network. She lives in Brookings with her husband, Marc. They have five children.