Berkeley public school students and teachers will likely have a new superintendent later this year following the selection of the finalist for the position, the school board announced Thursday.

Enikia Ford Morthel was chosen as the finalist in a meeting Sunday and the school board expects to approve her as superintendent May 18. She would begin work on July 1.

Morthel currently serves a deputy superintendent of instruction for the San Francisco Unified School District. Morthel will replace Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Brent Stephens, who opted not to renew his contract and has since taken a job as superintendent with the Lafayette School District.

“Throughout her career, Ford Morthel has worked to provide educators with the training and resources needed to deliver highly effective Tier 1 classroom instruction, which serves as the fundamental layer for academic success for every student,” school board president Ka’Dijah Brown said in a statement.

“Ms. Ford Morthel has an exemplary history of improving academic and opportunity outcomes for historically underserved populations and has done phenomenal work in SFUSD to support Special Education, African-American, Latinx and English Language Learner students,” Brown added.

Ford Morthel has more than 20 years of experience in education and a master’s degree in education from the University of California at Berkeley.

At Loyola Marymount University, Ford Morthel has held a position as professor/senior lecturer in urban education. She is also active in the larger community, serving as a board member for nonprofits, as well as collaborating with and consulting for community-based organizations.

“I am honored and humbled to serve the Berkeley community as the next superintendent,” Ford Morthel said in a statement.

“BUSD is uniquely positioned to be a proof point that all children — regardless of race, ethnicity, language, socio-economic status or zip code — can learn and thrive and that a district that provides a diverse portfolio of high-quality public schools, can create conditions for excellence, equity and authentic engagement for each and every student,” she said.

Brown said Ford Morthel’s professional philosophy aligns with that of the school district. Her biography says she sees education as social justice in action.

Ford Morthel was selected following a national search.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.