Joseph Graves. (Courtesy of Milken Family Foundation)
Gov. Kristi Noem announced Tuesday that she has appointed Joe Graves as secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education.
His appointment will be effective Jan. 10. He succeeds Secretary Tiffany Sanderson, who has accepted a job as president of Lake Area Technical College.
“Joe is a wonderful fit to lead our Department of Education and to help me achieve our goal of making South Dakota the leader for K-12 education in the nation,” Noem said in a news release.
Graves has served as superintendent of the Mitchell School District since 2000. Before that, he served as superintendent of several school districts in Iowa between 1991 and 2000. He began teaching in 1986.
“I am humbled by Governor Noem’s confidence in me,” Graves said in the release. “I have observed the positive change Governor Noem has made in our school systems up close as a superintendent. Now, I am excited to play a more significant role in reforming our schools and raising the bar for what students and teachers can both achieve.”
Graves has a master’s in history from the University of South Dakota; several education administration degrees from Drake University; a teaching certificate from the University of Iowa; and a bachelor’s in political science, psychology and sociology from South Dakota State University. He was honored as Educational Advocate of the Year by the School Administrators of South Dakota in 2018. He was also honored as Administrator of the Year by the South Dakota Music Educators Association in 2018. He has been published in numerous education journals.
Graves was born in Sioux Falls. He has been married to his wife, Cheryl, for 37 years. Together, they have four children and 10 grandchildren.
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