Pamela Cain, West Virginia's assistant state school superintendent, will become the new superintendent of the Kannapolis City Schools.
Cain, 57, replaces Jo Anne Byerly, superintendent since 2001, who in November announced she would retire effective June 30.
The school board selected Cain over 20 other applicants from both in state and out of state. None was from the Kannapolis City Schools.
Cain has worked in education for at least 20 years on the state, county and school levels. She also was superintendent of schools in Harrison and Wirt counties, W.Va., an assistant professor of education and an elementary and special education teacher.
Cain's four-year contract calls for her to earn $135,000 a year. She begins work July 1.
"Why did I want to come here?" Cain asked the audience at the Kannapolis school board meeting Thursday where she was named superintendent. "I was looking at what you are doing, and I am absolutely convinced I am where I am supposed to be."
Cain said she and her husband, architect Kent Gandee, already feel at home in North Carolina. They own a home in Wilmington, and their son Lucas lives in Charlotte.
Their other son, Brandon, lives in Richmond, Va.
During Cain's decade-long tenure as West Virginia's assistant superintendent, the state received an "A" grade in the Quality Counts national education assessment tool for its policies related to standards, assessment and accountability.
As chairperson of West Virginia's State Parent Advisory Council, she helped develop a three-year strategic plan for engaging parents, families and communities in low-performing schools.
She also supervised West Virginia's Office of Healthy School and oversaw strategic planning for health and wellness in schools.
By chairing the state's Out-of-Home Care Task Force, she also focused on improving academic achievement for students living in or awaiting foster care and students in residential facilities and shelters.
West Virginia State Superintendent Steven Paine described Cain in a news release as "the embodiment of professionalism." He said he wholeheartedly endorsed her as Kannapolis schools' superintendent.