CARY, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's largest school district is picking a superintendent among three finalists from Texas, Virginia Beach, and the state's second-largest school district.

The Wake County school system says its top candidates include Ann Clark, the deputy superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The others are Virginia Beach, Va., City Schools Superintendent James Merrill and Dana Bedden, superintendent of the Irving Independent School District in Texas.

School board members ranked education experience as one of the top traits they wanted in the new superintendent. Former Superintendent Tony Tata (TAY-ta) was a retired U.S. Army general with limited public school education experience before being hired by the former Republican board majority in 2010.

Democratic board members fired him in September after taking back the school board majority. Tata is now state transportation secretary.

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