Cardinal Announces Three Finalists for Superintendent


The Cardinal Community School District has whittled the applicants for its next superintendent down to three candidates.

Last week the district announced Gary Benda, James Craig, and Steve Noble as the finalists.

Currently, Benda serves as shared superintendent of Starmont and West Central Community School Districts. In this role, he has developed and implemented in-service training for district staff in positive behavior intervention and support, professional learning communities, and gradual release of responsibility practices. Benda began his administrative career at Keokuk CSD, serving as the high school associate principal and middle school principal. He is pursuing an Ed.D. degree from the University of Northern Iowa, to be completed summer of 2023.

As superintendent of the Sibley-Ocheyedan CSD, Craig has revamped the salary schedule to retain staff, led multiple facility improvements, and facilitated the Self-Assessment of MTSS Implementation model to help special education students address achievement gaps. Craig also serves as vice president of the School Administrators of Iowa Northwest Region and is a member of the Representative Council. Craig was previously the principal and 504 coordinator at Southwest Valley High School.

Noble is the junior/senior high school principal in the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont CSD, where he is responsible for curriculum development, system integrity, teacher evaluation, and professional development planning for grades 7-12. He holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Michigan-Flint and has completed the superintendency advanced studies certificate program at the University of Northern Iowa. Previously, Noble served as principal of Ubly Junior-Senior High School in Ubly, Michigan.

Board members have been working with Grimdmeyer Leader Services to conduct the search. As a next step, the board and stakeholder interview teams will conduct final interviews with each of the finalists on Thursday, March 23. The board will then discuss the candidates and reach a final decision soon after the formal interviews.

The new superintendent will officially begin leading the Cardinal Community School District on July 1, 2023.

The current superintendent, Joel Pedersen, announced in December he will be stepping down at the end of the school year. He will be the new Chief Administrator of Central Rivers Area Education Agency. Pedersen has been Cardinal’s superintendent since 2010.

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