Graves County Schools' new superintendent has learned about the district from years as a student, teacher and principal.

The board of education selected Graves County High School principal Matt Madding, 35, of Sedalia as superintendent beginning July 1 in a unanimous vote Wednesday. Current superintendent Kim Dublin is retiring June 30 after 31 years with Graves County Schools.

Madding thanked his supporters, including his family and the teachers and administrators at Graves County Schools who first got him interested in education. He also promised to give the job his best.

"Moving forward, our goal is going to be to make sure that every student who graduates from Graves County Schools is prepared for college or the workforce," he said, adding that the elementary and middle schools have an important job laying the foundation for that.

Following the announcement, Madding said his first priority would be to work on the budget for the upcoming year.

"We're still in a place where things are very tight," he said, adding that it was important to him that the board maximize its revenue.

He said he thought what set him apart from other applicants was his knowledge of the school district and its projects, including a leading role in launching a program to put Chromebook laptop computers in the hands of middle and high school students.

Madding was valedictorian of GCHS's class of 2002 before earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky in secondary mathematics education. He taught math at Graves County High School from 2006 to 2011 and earned a master's degree in secondary education at Murray State University while teaching. He then earned a second master's degree in administration through Northern Kentucky University.

Madding served as principal at Farmington Elementary for the 2011-12 school year. He was then appointed interim principal at GCHS for the 2012-13 school year before being hired permanently for that position at the end of the year.

Board member Jim Wurth said there were 16 applicants for the position, and a screening committee forwarded six of those to the board for consideration. Applicants came from as far away as Indiana and eastern Tennessee.

"I think that spoke volumes about Graves County," Wurth said. "If we can attract applicants from that far off, we must be doing something right."

Board member Kelly Whitaker agreed.

"We have a wonderful district, and I am excited," she said. "We've seen what Matt can do at the high school, and we can't wait to see what he can do districtwide."

Board member Julie Moffitt took time to praise Dublin for all she has accomplished for the district, saying that she admires her spirit, drive and leadership. She said she wanted to thank her for all she has done.

Moffitt said, "She has served Graves County well."