NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The Orleans Parish School Board has selected Avis Williams in a historic move as the district’s new superintendent, NOLA-PS announced last Wednesday.

Williams will be the first woman to ever lead the New Orleans public school system in the district’s 181-year history. With an education career spanning 20 years, Williams comes to New Orleans from Selma, Alabama, where she has been superintendent of Selma City Schools since 2017. Prior to her time in Selma, she was an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Tuscaloosa City Schools.

In 2020, Williams was selected as the Alabama Alliance of Black School Educators Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for Alabama State Superintendent of the Year in 2019.

In addition to education, Williams also served in the Army, where she attained the rank of sergeant.

Williams will replace Supt. Henderson Lewis, Jr., who will step down at the end of the school year.