RICHMOND — Louisa County's public school system has named county native and longtime local educator J. Douglas Straley as its new superintendent.
Straley, who graduated from Louisa County High School in 1990, will take over for Deborah Pettit, who has run the district since 2007.
The county’s School Board began searching for Pettit’s successor in December shortly after she announced her retirement.
In the intervening months, the board reviewed more than a dozen applications before narrowing down a list of finalists to three. It chose Straley, 43, unanimously Tuesday.
Straley's base salary will be $149,000.
Straley has worked in the school district for 22 years as a middle school teacher, elementary school assistant principal, high school assistant principal, principal and athletic director. He is currently assistant superintendent of administration for the school district.
He is a Virginia Tech graduate and received a master's degree from Regent University in 2000.
Along with his own time attending county schools, five of his six children go to Louisa schools, and the sixth will begin kindergarten in the fall.
"To put it simply, I love Louisa and I am excited to lead this school division and to continue to serve this awesome community as its superintendent of schools," Straley said. "I certainly have big shoes to fill, as Dr. Pettit has led LCPS in amazing fashion over the past nine years."
Straley will officially take over the job from Pettit, 65, on July 1.
Pettit, who worked in the school system for 44 years, guided it through one of its most turbulent and unexpected times: the aftermath of a magnitude-5.8 earthquake in August 2011.
The epicenter of the quake, which was felt from North Carolina to Canada, was in Mineral. The quake severely damaged Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and Louisa County High School.
A new elementary school opened in 2014 and a new high school opened in 2015.
The School Board said in statement Wednesday that “Pettit has positioned us and Mr. Straley to continue our progress of moving from construction to instruction.”
“We have been blessed to have Dr. Pettit serve as superintendent since 2007 and no one else could have accomplished what she has for Louisa County,” the board said.