A longtime administrator with the Lauderdale County School District was appointed Tuesday afternoon in a unanimous decision as the new superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District.

Lisa Hull, federal projects coordinator for the Lauderdale District, was appointed superintendent, School Board President Harold Coburn announced after 5 p.m. in a press release.

Hull will succeed Terry Larabee who resigned last year as superintendent for city schools.

The School Board reviewed 13 applicants for the top position before narrowing the field to six for in-depth interviews. Three were chosen as finalists.

"On behalf of the board, I am pleased to announce the employment of Mrs. Lisa Hull as the district's new superintendent," Coburn said in the press release. "Our decision was based on Mrs. Hull's experience and accomplishments as a strong district administrator and successful classroom teacher as well as her focus on school safety, student achievement and support for extracurricular activity.  She demonstrated her understanding of the challenges facing all school districts today, particularly as they take on the challenges of meeting new academic standards."

Hull has been the federal projects coordinator for the Lauderdale County School District since 1998 where she works with school level personnel and parents to institute school improvement throughout the schools in the district. 

She has completed all coursework for the Ph. D. in educational leadership from Mississippi State University and holds an educational specialist's degree from Mississippi State. She also has a bachelor's and master's degree from the Mississippi University for Women.  She is active in numerous professional organizations including the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents and the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators.

The finalists for superintendent were also interviewed by representatives of the district staff, parents, and members of the civic and business community, Coburn said.

"We undertook extensive reference checks as well. At all times we were mindful of our district's potential for greater achievement and of the concerns of our parents, school staff, students, and the community at large.

"We are appreciative of the support the local community has always shown for our public school district, both through expressed interest and tax dollars. We are committed to the responsible management of these resources and to greater growth and achievement within our schools. We look forward to a continuation of this strong, positive relationship under her leadership and we're confident that our district and community will welcome Mrs. Hull and her family to Philadelphia."

In making the announcement, Coburn also expressed the board's deep appreciation to Robert Turnage who has been serving as the district's interim superintendent since Nov. 5, 2013.

"On behalf of the board and the district as a whole, I offer our appreciation to Mr. Turnage for agreeing to step in as interim superintendent over the last seven months," he said.

"Mr. Turnage's seasoned leadership and unfailing professionalism have been invaluable.  His concern for the district's students, parents, and staff has been evident every day as he has addressed challenging situations and found good solutions.  We are profoundly grateful for his work."