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Joseph Davis, a Harvard-educated superintendent from a small, high-poverty district in North Carolina, is the next superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant schools.

Davis, one of two finalists who laid out their vision for the district in public forums last month, begins July 1.

He agreed to a three-year contract in which his annual salary will be $200,000. The board voted unanimously.

He has a wife, who is a school counselor, and a 9-year-old son.

“My goal for the Ferguson-Florissant School District is to do everything I can to assure that our children are successful — both in school and in life,” Davis said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon as he stood with several children from the district.

Although it is not required in his contract, Davis says his family plans to live within the district and send their son to a Ferguson-Florissant school.

Rob Chabot, president of the School Board, said there were two high-quality candidates, but after public forums, meetings with staff and community leaders, Joe Davis stood out. He saw it on the faces of people who attended.

“He was really able to connect with everybody,” he said.

The other finalist, Bryan Davis, is superintendent of a small district in Columbus, Wis., with an interest in urban education.

Davis will be the second African-American superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant. He replaces Art McCoy, who resigned last spring after district leaders placed him on administrative leave, angering many in the district who questioned the actions of the School Board. The board at that time had no African-American members.

Ferguson-Florissant remains accredited with the state department of education, but its ratings during the last two years could lead officials to lower its standing to provisional when they reassess later this year