Following a nationwide search, Jennifer Pallon Byars, assistant superintendent of Ledyard Public Schools, has been chosen to lead the top-rated Amity Regional School District as superintendent of schools.

Byars, who started as a science teacher and has served as principal of elementary schools, including in Deep River and Ledyard, and as an assistant high school principal in Virginia, received an enthusiastic unanimous vote from the Amity Board of Education Wednesday night. She will take the helm Nov. 15.

“There are a lot of people who don’t like us in Ledyard now,” said board member Paula CoFrancesco, referring to how popular Byars is in that district with parents and staff.

Board member Steven DeMaio said he was fortunate to visit Ledyard during the search process, where board members received, “overwhelmingly positive feedback,” from the staff and community regarding Byars.

“I’m extremely excited about the direction we’re going in,” DeMaio said.

Board member Sheila McCreven said she loves Byars’ demeanor and is impressed with her leadership ability.

“I think she’s going to be an excellent fit,” McCreven said.

Board member Jennifer Turner said Byars is very “collaborative,” and while she has so much knowledge to share, Byars doesn’t deliver it as if she’s “lecturing.”

Interim Superintendent James Connelly has said during the search that the district was left in good shape by the previous superintendent, Charles Dumais, who left at the end of last school year to become executive director at Cooperative Educational Services.

The search for Dumais’ replacement was spearheaded by Joseph Erardi, retired longtime Newtown superintendent of schools who now owns JE Consulting and was hired to do the search.

Board members Wednesday also complimented Erardi for a thorough and high quality search process.

Erardi told the board at a July meeting there were great candidates in the pool and that he received valuable feedback on what people wanted to see in a superintendent, through meetings and focus groups.

Byars holds a doctorate degree in administration and supervision, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia, and received her initial Connecticut teacher certification from Central Connecticut State University. In 1993 she graduated from Smith College with high honors and degrees in geology, her resume states.