The Wayne County Board of Education unanimously chose David A. Lewis to become Wayne County Public Schools’ new superintendent at its Monday meeting.

Lewis has been interim superintendent since Jan. 1. He replaced Jim Merrill, who was the interim superintendent chosen after Michael J. Dunsmore resigned in June 2020 after school board members learned about a nearly $5 million budget discrepancy.

Dunsmore had been superintendent since July 2015.

The board started a search for a permanent superintendent last year, but didn’t view any of the applicants as a good fit for the Wayne County school system, said Chris West, school board chairman.

West said there were more than 25 applicants from all over the Southeastern United States.

The board then began a new search.

Lewis is a veteran administrator with 30 years of public education experience, including teaching, school administration and district leadership, said Ken Derksen, Wayne County Public Schools communications and public relations officer.

Prior to being named interim superintendent, Lewis served as an assistant superintendent for more than seven years.

As assistant superintendent, his areas of leadership included accountability, testing, PowerSchool, special projects, technology integration/support, program evaluation, student assignment district calendar committee, principal evaluation support, North Carolina School Report Card, transportation, school staffing allotments, student services and athletics.

From June through October 2020, Lewis also served as the district’s interim finance officer.

“Our district has made significant strides over the past year, paying off debt while also laying the groundwork for innovative initiatives such as the Wayne School of Technical Arts located on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base,” Lewis said.

“I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to continue working with the Board of Education and the district’s leadership to build upon this forward momentum to best serve our students, staff and communities. Wayne County is my home, and I do not take this selection, or the responsibility that comes with it, lightly.”

Lewis’ salary was not available.