Gov. Noem Appoints Joe Graves as Secretary of Education

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January 3, 2023

Contact: Ian Fury


Gov. Noem Appoints Joe Graves as Secretary of Education


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Gov. Kristi Noem appointed Joe Graves as Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education. Joe’s appointment will be effective January 10th. Joe is replacing 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,” said Governor Kristi Noem.


Joe 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,” said Joe Graves. “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.”


Joe 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 B.S. in political science, psychology, and sociology from South Dakota State University. He was awarded “Educational Advocate of the Year” by the School Administrators of South Dakota in 2018. He was also awarded “Administrator of the Year” by the South Dakota Music Educators Association in 2018. He has been published in numerous education journals.


Joe was born in Sioux Falls. He has been married to his wife Cheryl for 37 years. Together, they have four children and ten grandchildren.