SIBLEY—The Sibley-Ocheyedan School District has found its next top general.

James Craig, the principal of Southwest Valley High School in the southwest Iowa town of Corning, will become the next superintendent of Sibley-Ocheyedan, which is based in Sibley.

The school district’s board of education unanimously approved Craig for the position during a special meeting on Monday, April 22.

He will take over the role on July 1.

Craig will be a superintendent for the first time and lead a school district that serves the Osceola County communities of Sibley and Ocheyedan as well as the rural area surrounding the cities.

“My family and I are very excited,” Craig said. “We really had a wonderful experience when we were in town for the interview.”

The 42-year-old described the people that he and his wife, Mandy, met on April 16 at Sibley-Ocheyedan as “fantastic.”

“We really received a unified message from the students, community members and staff members that were involved in the interview,” Craig said.

“That made it a very attractive opportunity to become a superintendent at Sibley-Ocheyedan,” he said. “The people really sold the district and the communities.”

He described what he meant by a “unified message.”

“The communities of Sibley-Ocheyedan are safe communities,” Craig said. “They really look out for and take care of each other.

“They provide for each other in times of need. They’re very unified. They don’t give up on things.”

The father of three young children mentioned that he was impressed by Sibley-Ocheyedan students’ academic achievements.

“I will be able to bring them into the school district and know that they’re going to be able to be successful because they’ve got great teachers and great programs in place that are helping them be academically successful,” Craig said. “From a financial standpoint, the district is in a great position.”

He was pleased to see that Sibley is renovating its public swimming pool, has a nine-hole golf course and is located close to the highest point in Iowa.

“My wife and I are both from rural communities,” Craig said. “We enjoy that atmosphere very much. We’re very appreciative of that rural environment.

“The quality of life that the communities have to offer was very attractive.”

He has served as the Southwest Valley principal — his first-ever position in school administration — since 2015.

“We’ve put a lot of work into some professional development initiatives and we’ve been involved in the community here,” Craig said. “It will be difficult to leave the community.”

The native of the south-central Iowa community of Leon described his educational philosophy.

“It’s expect the best,” Craig said. “That means — for me — whatever we put into the kids’ educational experience first. Expecting the best out of everyone and everything that we do is very simply it.”

He recalled something that Sibley-Ocheyedan Elementary principal Cory Jenness said to him.

“Your best today is 100 percent of whatever you bring,” Craig said. “You’re not going to have your ‘A’ game every single day, every single moment, but the best of what you’ve got is what we need and it’s what the kids need.”

He will take over the position of Sibley-Ocheyedan’s superintendent from Bill Boer, who will retire at the end of the 2018-19 academic year after having served as the school district’s leader for six years.

Boer gave Craig and his wife a tour of Sibley-Ocheyedan’s facilities when they were in Sibley for Craig’s interview for the superintendent’s position.

“He was wonderful,” Craig said. “I sat and visited with him throughout the day. He was just terrific to myself and my wife. He took very good care of us. I’m very appreciative of him.

“I’m sure I’ll be calling on his expertise,” he said. “It’ll be a steep learning curve to move from principal to superintendent, but to have great people close at hand, I’ll be relying on them for help quite often, I’m sure.”