The Whitewater School Board on Monday announced its unanimous pick for district administrator, a 2002 UW-Whitewater graduate who will start July 1.

The board’s choice, Caroline Pate-Hefty, is executive director of student services in the Maywood, Melrose Park and Broadview public schools in Cook County, Illinois.

She worked there for more than eight years and was a “leader in supporting diverse school districts with a focus on equity and inclusion,” according to a district news release shared Monday night.

She also has “extensive experience” with campus security, special education, discipline, school culture, and social and emotional learning models, the release states.

She has done presentations for the Empowerment and Advocacy for Students with Challenging Behavior Conference, Illinois Association of Latino Administrators and the Healthy Schools Campaign, according to the release.

“Dr. Pate-Hefty’s focus on all students and obvious passion make her an excellent fit for the Whitewater Unified School District,” board President Casey Judd said in the release. “We are confident that her leadership will serve our school and community exceptionally well.”

Pate-Hefty said she was honored to have been chosen to lead the district and “support their mission to inspire and empower students to achieve excellence in a safe (and) innovative educational environment.”

She received her doctorate from National Louis University in 2017, a master’s degree from Concordia University in 2007 and a bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater in 2002.

The board thanked Jim Shaw, who took over in October as interim district administrator after Mark Elworthy left to take an interim position near Milwaukee.

The board said it appreciated Shaw’s “unwavering professional and exceptional service.”

The other finalist for the Whitewater position was Kellie Bohn, superintendent for the Genoa City Joint 2 School District.

The Whitewater district received about 40 applications and ultimately picked five semifinalists to interview before the finalists were chosen.

The district will announce plans for Pate-Hefty to meet the community.

This story might be updated.