Tony Watlington is the next Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District

The future of the Philadelphia School District is in the hands of Tony B.. Watlington Sr.

Watlington, a career educator from North Carolina, was elected by the Philadelphia School Board to replace William R. Height Jr.. As the next Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, he is the CEO of a comprehensive system of 216 schools, 115,000 students and a budget of $ 3.9 billion.

Watlington has signed a five-year contract with a one-year renewal option, and will be paid $ 340,000, with no incentive clauses. He will reside in the city, according to the terms of his contract, and will begin on June 16.

The job in Philadelphia is a huge leap forward for Wattlington, currently the County Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury, who educates about 20,000, with a budget of $ 190 million.

»Read more: Tony Watlington, who leads a small school district in NC, speaks to the community

The announcement was made at the county headquarters Friday morning, covering a six-month national search, and with Mayor Jim Kenny, Hite and other officials watching. Cheers intensified as the new commissioner made his way to the hall and then as council president Joyce Wilkerson announced Watlington as the board member.

“This is an amazing moment for our students and families,” Wilkerson said.

“Our city is passionate about education, and we look forward to working with you to make our schools the nation of light we need them to be. Dr. Watlington is the right person to lead the work forward,” Kenny said.

Watlington said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead one of the country’s largest school systems, saying he wakes up every day with a question in his head: “How are the kids? How are you?” all the children?”

He said he wants to provide “life-changing opportunities and results for every child and child in the Philadelphia School District.”

Watlington, who has a full day of meetings with politicians and business leaders, admitted he has a lot to learn about the city to which he has had no previous connections.

“I’m going to go out and be very visible and study Philadelphia,” Watlington said. He identified as his top priority a listening tour, wrapped his arms around the state of facility challenges in the county, and understood the “next steps to improve academic achievement.”

Watlington, who will remain Inspector Rowan-Salisbury until he starts in Philadelphia, said he will start his house hunt right away, and plans to spend weekends in the city. Hite said he had already made room for Watlington at county headquarters.

The current Philadelphia Superintendent said he thinks Wellington is the right choice to take over after his decade in office.

“I have all the confidence in him,” Haight said.

Watlington, 51, was one of the three finalists for the job. He was elected over John Davis, the current headmaster of Baltimore schools, and Krish Mohip, deputy education officer of the Illinois State Board of Education.

Although some have criticized what they say is a shallow pool of candidates within the National Commissioner’s array of searches, Watlington is considered the obvious favorite after the public has met him in a series of meetings and at City Hall. He earned points for honest style and clear explanations of who he is and what he values ​​as an educator.

»Read more: 7 things to know about Philly’s new supervisor, Tony B. Watlington Sr.

But Watlington has a lot to prove as someone who has only served as inspector for a year, and in a small county. He comes from a state of privilege working in a county that must deal with five separate unions, including the Philadelphia Powerful Teachers Federation. He will lead a district that will not be able to raise a penny from his income, so he is sensitive to all the political winds prevailing in the municipality and Harrisburg.

Watlington will face countless challenges, instantly – from the ongoing plague and the team’s low morale to an inventory of 300 aging buildings that require about $ 5 billion to repair. The school system is about to embark on a strategic planning process that could lead to school closures; His renewed special admission process has been widely criticized; And her work around anti-racism continues.

Academically it struggles, even when measured against other school districts in the big city: only about 35% of its students meet state standards in English and 21% in math.

»Read more: What does the Philadelphia Superintendent do, and why should you care?

But Watlington said he meets the Philadelphia challenge, ready to put together a strong team and increase the things he does well.

He described himself as a consensus builder.

“I know how to get the best out of people. I have the talent to bring diverse groups of people to deal with big and difficult issues,” Watlington said during City Hall in March.

He admitted the obstacles he would have to make Treat to win Philadelphia’s trust, but swear transparency in the process.

“I’m one of those leaders who likes to put my cards on the table face up,” Watlington said. “Trust is the cumulative act of small deeds.”

The school council has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to approve Watlington’s contract.

It’s an evolving story.

Leave a Comment