BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford School Committee voted unanimously Thursday night to hire Jeremy Ray as the new superintendent of schools beginning July 1.

Ray will replace Sarah-Jane Poli, who will retire June 30 retire after eight years as superintendent and 48 years as an educator in Biddeford.

Ray currently is the director of operations for Westbrook schools and previously spent seven years as principal of Canal School in Westbrook. He received a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Maine in 2003.

Porter said Ray was chosen after a four-month search process that drew 17 applications. A search committee interviewed six candidates before choosing two finalists to visit the district.

Porter said Ray will bring “a lot of enthusiasm” to the district.

“The School Committee was looking for that, some new ideas and someone who embraces new technology and curriculum ideas,” he said. “They were looking to start a new chapter and he fit the bill for that.”