The school board formally hired Tony B. Watlington Sr. as its next superintendent Thursday, unanimously approving a $340,000 contract for the North Carolina career educator.

Watlington’s superintendency begins June 16, but he will spend two days a week starting now either in the city or conducting Philadelphia School District business remotely. Watlington is still employed as superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury district in North Carolina.

Board members hailed Watlington, 51, as the right person for the job, chosen after a six-month search to follow William R. Hite Jr., who’s leaving after a decade as superintendent.

“We have scoured this country, almost. When we chose him, we chose him with conviction,” board member Julia Danzy said of Watlington.

Board member Mallory Fix Lopez asked the public to give Watlington the time to settle in and make changes in a city that’s not always warm to change.

“I’m super excited,” Fix Lopez said of Watlington’s hiring. “I feel like as a mother I can sleep a little differently tonight knowing that Dr. Watlington is what we need.”

Watlington and the board agreed to a five-year contract with an option for a sixth year. He must live in the city, and the board will pay both his legal fees associated with contract negotiations and relocation expenses of up to $35,000.

He gets five weeks’ vacation, three personal days, health and dental insurance, and a life insurance policy of $1 million.

The contract obliges Watlington to obtain his Pennsylvania superintendent’s credential, and requires him to prepare an “entry plan” for his work by July 1. He will be evaluated annually by the board.

Watlington, appearing at the special board meeting via Zoom, thanked the board for its confidence in him.

“I’m looking forward to visiting as early as next week, and being present as often as I can in advance of my June 16 start date,” Watlington said.