SAUK RAPIDS -- The long-time principal of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School will soon have a new role, leading the Minnesota State High School League.

The league's board of directors announced Erich Martens as their pick for the next executive director in a release Monday.

After narrowing down their search to three candidates for the position, the selection committee recommended Martens last week. Interim Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Bruce Watkins says, as a district, they couldn't be more proud.

"We're extremely proud of Erich, he's been an excellent principal for us in the district for many years. He is a perfect candidate for this position and so we're very, very pleased for him."

Martens has been the principal for Sauk Rapids-Rice High School for over a decade. When it comes to finding a new principal, Watkins says, for now, they're waiting to figure out the exact dates for Martens' transition to his new role.

"We will wait until Erich has had a chance to talk to the league about transition dates, we know that he's just had the announcement, and he'll be meeting with them to figure out what their needs are, and then we'll do the same at the district."

Martens was named Minnesota High School Principal of the Year in 2013, and Central Minnesota Principal of the Year in 2012. Martens told the board members after their vote that he was "extremely humbled and very excited".

The other two finalists were Mindy Chevalier from Belle Plaine High School and Troy Urdahl from St. Anthony Village High School. Martens will take over for Executive Director Dave Stead, who's taking over a different role within the league.

Stead is the longest serving executive director, being in the position since 1988.