PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The Board of Education announced Friday that Tony Watlington has been named the next superintendent of the Philadelphia School District.

He is currently Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools in North Carolina.

The board’s search committee provided the following information about Watlington:

Watlington has 27 years of experience in education with specific expertise in instructional leadership and closing student achievement gaps, organizational effectiveness and budget management, recruiting and developing strong executive leadership, developing school/community/university partnerships and equity education.

He has held a variety of positions during his career, including as a high school teacher, vice principal, and principal.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools is North Carolina’s first and only renewal school district, serving more than 18,000 students in 33 schools.

The district’s student population is 54% white, 20% Hispanic, 18% black, 8% from other racial groups, and 67% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

His professional accomplishments include: developing the district’s strategic plan, “Renewal 2027”, which focuses on academic skills/early literacy, interpersonal skills, student passions and unique life goals, human capital, l operational effectiveness and parental and community engagement; increase the district’s third-grade literacy ranking from 96 in 2019 to 74 in 2021 among 115 school districts; and increase the percentage of schools that meet or exceed state growth goals from 55% to 71%.

Prior to joining Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Watlington served as Head of Schools for Guilford County Schools, a district serving more than 72,000 students.


The Board of Education is due to name the next superintendent for the Philadelphia school district on Friday morning.

The school board narrowed its search to three finalists: John Davis Jr., the chief of schools for Baltimore City Public Schools; Krish Mohip, deputy director of education for the Illinois State Board of Education; and Dr. Tony Watlington Sr., Principal of Rowan-Salisbury School.

In mid-March, the three finalists traveled to Philadelphia where they met with members of the community, including students, parents and district officials.

The new choice will replace the current superintendent, Dr William Hite, after a six-month search.

RELATED: Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. Hite Won’t Renew Contract at End of School Year

Hite will join Knowledgeworks, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit, as president and CEO effective July 1.

Hite served as superintendent in Philadelphia for 10 years.
“I have had the tremendous honor and privilege to serve as superintendent of the Philadelphia School District – to work alongside you and many of my colleagues, and to support our beautiful and talented young children whom we serve. After After careful consideration, I have decided not to renew my contract,” Hite said in a video message in September.
The announcement is expected to take place at 9:30 a.m.

Mayor Jim Kenney is expected to attend.

You can find more information about the finalists on the district’s website.

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