School board members in Atlanta have confirmed as their new superintendent the woman who now leads schools in Alabama’s largest city.

Atlanta has named Birmingham Superintendent Lisa Herring as its sole finalist in April.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the board voted 8-1 on Monday after a required 14-day pause to hire Herring,

The 47-year-old Herring agreed to a three-year contract and will start work in Atlanta on July 1.

She will replace Meria Carstarphen, who won plaudits for improving academic performance and morale in the 51,000-student Atlanta system after a devastating cheating scandal. Carstarphen had wanted to stay on, but board members declined to renew her contract, with some saying they needed a leader with different skills to lead Atlanta toward better academic results.

Board Chairman Jason Esteves praised Herring’s skills and said she’ll work as a consultant to the district during the next month and a half to get up to speed.

“Everything we do builds on everything that has gone before, and we have a strong foundation to build on, and I personally look forward to being a part of that next chapter and this new work,” said board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown.

Board member Nancy Meister, a longtime Carstarphen supporter, cast the lone dissenting vote. Two other board members who had supported retaining Carstarphen voted to hire Herring.

Herring will make $320,000 a year in salary, plus $2,000 a month for expenses.

Herring is a Macon, Georgia, native who taught students in Atlanta as a Spelman College student. In Birmingham, the 22,000-student district’s grade on Alabama’s school-rating report card improved from F to C under her, and the city’s schools won full accreditation after a state takeover due to financial problems and board conflict.

The Atlanta district has sharp divides between a minority of affluent children and a majority of poorer children, most of them African American.

Herring previously was chief of academics in Louisville, Kentucky, and Charleston, South Carolina. Before that, she worked in the Atlanta suburb of DeKalb County, and was a teacher with Bibb County schools in Macon.

(Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Herring)

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