SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council unanimously appointed Elyse Tipton to fill the vacant District 5 school board seat on Monday night, selecting her from three “top-tier candidates” who were interviewed for the position.

The council voted 7-0 for Tipton, a communications professional who applied for the post along with Bruce Bennett, an office assistant who works for the state, and Ryan Edwards, an insurance benefits manager.

The vote followed some discussion about whether Bennett, an African-American immigrant, should be appointed to bring racial diversity to the all-white school board.

Councilors Claude Morgan and Maxine Beecher nominated Tipton, lauding her strong resume, varied experience, communication skills and clear answers to several questions posed by councilors during an interview session that preceded their vote.

“For me, Ms. Tipton stood out,” said Morgan, who echoed several councilors in suggesting that Bennett and Edwards stay involved in the city’s schools and consider running for the District 5 seat next year.

Before voting to appoint Tipton, Councilor Brad Fox, who represents District 5, noted the council’s goal to increase diversity in municipal government.

“I don’t think that happens without outreach,” Fox said. “If we want to increase diversity, then we need to increase diversity.”

Councilors acted to fill a seat vacated in September, when Tappan Fitzgerald II resigned for personal reasons with two years remaining in his three-year term. Because the Nov. 8 municipal ballot was already set, the council appointed Tipton to fill the seat until an election is held in November 2017.

Bennett, 34, of 1 Red Oak Drive, is an office assistant with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, according to his application. An immigrant from Burundi, in central Africa, he came to the United States in 2009 and settled in Maine in 2010, he said. He has a 2-year-old child and speaks five languages, including French, Kirundi and Swahili.

Bennett described himself as “the product of a good education” who has studied education systems around the globe and said he wanted South Portland children ” to have the best education possible.”

Bennett urged the council to appoint him as a representative of the city’s small but growing minority population, including many immigrants. “This is the perfect opportunity to get a minority involved in education,” he said.

Edwards, 40, of 138 Pennsylvania Ave., is a South Portland native whose father served on the school board for nearly 20 years. He is a long-term disability benefits manager for the Aetna Life Insurance Co., according to his application.

Previously, Edwards was as an education technician at Memorial Middle School and he coached soccer and track for 15 years, he said. Edwards has three young children, two of whom attend South Portland schools.

Edwards described himself an outgoing collaborator whose goal was to follow his father’s footsteps and do “what’s best for the children and the citizens.”

Tipton, 55, of 35 Hall St., is communications and marketing director for the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Portland and previously was development director at the Center for Grieving Children in Portland, according to her application.

She moved from Portland to South Portland seven years ago and has two grown children who graduated from Portland High School, she said.

Tipton noted her experience as a senior manager of nonprofit organizations, which has included hiring staff, developing budgets, strategic planning and considering divergent opinions. She said she would strive to balance school funding needs with the pressures that taxpayers face.