It took months, but Duval County's Schools' search for a new leader is now over.
The school board selected Dr. Nikolai Vitti to take over for retiring superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals. The board interviewed the final three candidates before selecting Vitti Tuesday.
The 35 year old now serves as assistant superintendent for the Miami-Dade School District.
School board member William Gentry told Action News, "I think he’ll energize the district. We have a lot of great things going for us. But people have to buy-in and believe there are great things going on. He’ll give that leadership and that vision.”
Dr. Vitti told the Duval School Board this superintendent job is the only one in the world that could get him to leave his post in Miami. Board members later voted 5 to 2 to give it to him.
Before the vote, Vitti told board members, "My number one priority is what’s best for the children.”
Those 125,000 children in Duval schools have family members concerned about the new direction once current superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals retires in December.
Eunice Barnum who has four grandchildren in Duval schools came to witness the vote and told Action News, “It’s hard to say who’s good and who’s not good. I leave that decision to the people we pay. And all I say is, you pray you made the right decision.”
After the vote, Dr. Vitti released a statement to the board.
"I am honored by the School Board’s decision and deeply respect the transparent process by which I was selected," Vitti wrote, "I look forward to moving through the negotiation process so we can begin the collective work of taking our district to a national model of excellence for students.”
School officials expect to begin negotiating a contract with Dr. Vitti soon.