GULFPORT -- Roy Gill soundly defeated his two opponents to become Harrison County's next superintendent of education.
Gill, a Republican, will replace Henry Arledge, who's retiring after 36 years as head of the state's third-largest public school district. Gill is the Harrison County School District's director of curriculum, instruction and accountability.
Unofficial tallies from Tuesday night show Gill garnered 55 percent of the vote. Independent candidate Averie Bush, principal of Harrison Central High School, received 33 percent.
Democrat Stephanie Newell, a special education teacher in Biloxi and adjunct professor at William Carey University, received 12 percent.
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Gill could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
While campaigning, he said achievement for all students would be his top priority. He spoke out in favor of courses and programs for college-bound students and for increased vocational training opportunities for others.
He also has supported building middle schools in North Gulfport and Orange Grove neighborhoods.
Bush, who reports to the superintendent, said he will have no problem working with Gill.
"We both want to do what's best for the kids," he said. "I've never had any question about who he is as a person or an educator. His record shows that.
"It was a good race and we fought a good fight," he said. "Now we can get back to the business of educating our children."
The school district has about 14,000 students and 2,000 employees.