PORTLAND, Ore. -- A top official at the Atlanta Public Schools district has been named as the sole finalist to be the next superintendent of Portland Public Schools.

The district announced Friday that Donyall Dickey is the choice to run the state's largest school district. Currently, Dickey serves as chief schools officer and chief academic officer in Atlanta.

In a statement, PPS Board chair Tom Koehler praised Dickey:

“Donyall’s career has been driven by a commitment to equity, instructional excellence and accountability for results,” said PPS Board Chair Tom Koehler. “His repeated success in turning around underperforming schools in large urban school districts in a short amount of time demonstrates his unique ability to put in place operational systematic changes that support teachers, spur student achievement and improve schools. His leadership style engages the community to motivate and deliver results for students. This is exactly the kind of academic leadership and community experience we need at this time in PPS.”

PPS officials said Dickey was among 32 applicants for the position, a pool that included 8 women and 10 candidates of color. A community group of 16 members assisted in the interview process.

The PPS board will vote on Dickey's appointment at a to-be-determined meeting, and he would start effective July 1.

Dickey replaces Carole Smith, who stepped down in July 2016 as the district was struggling with revelations of high lead levels in water fixtures across its facilities.

The Portland district's board voted earlier this week to ask voters to approve a $790 million bond issue on the May ballot. It would fund overhauls of three schools as well as address the lead-testing issues.

Dickey joined the Atlanta district in July 2015, coming from Philadelphia. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, and completed graduates degrees at Loyola University and George Washington University. He began his career as a third-grade teacher and later served as a high school principal.