RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington is a finalist for same job in Philadelphia

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Tony Watlington is a finalist in a search for the same position to head the School District of Philadelphia.

“Recently, I was invited to engage in a conversation with the School District of Philadelphia’s community and its Board of Education to serve as their next superintendent and was announced as one of three finalists for the position,” Watlington said in a statement. “After much thought, deliberation and prayer, I have decided to continue dialogue with the Philadelphia community.”

Watlington said the district, which includes every public school in Philadelphia, has “bold plans” like RSS.

Watlington said the conversations will also help him decide if he is the right fit for the district. He was sworn in with RSS on Jan. 11, 2021.

“I am simply engaging with the community in deeper conversations about the possibility,” Watlington said. “I am proud of the work we are doing here in Rowan-Salisbury Schools, and will continue to partner with our school community to provide an extraordinary education for our students every day.”

The Philadelphia district serves more than 200,000 students, which is more than 10 times the size of the RSS student population. Watlington is not new to larger districts. Before being selected as the next superintendent with RSS, he was chief of schools for Guilford County Schools. GCS has more than 72,000 students.

Watlington is one of three finalists announced publicly by the Philadelphia School Board, along with John Davis and Krish Mohip.

Davis is chief of schools for Baltimore City Public Schools and has spent his career in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas. He began his career as a math teacher at a Baltimore middle school.

Mohip is deputy education officer for the Illinois State Board of Education. He began his career as a kindergarten teacher for Chicago Public Schools and rose through the ranks of that district to chief of schools before being recruited by the state of Ohio to improve a district.

The Philadelphia School Board is streaming roundtable discussions with the candidates this week. Davis spoke on Monday, Mohip on Tuesday and Watlington is scheduled for Wednesday.

Talks will take place throughout the day starting at at 9:30 a.m. with breaks in between groups of parents, students, teachers and principals. The day will culminate in a candidate town hall held in-person from 6 to 7 p.m. at the district’s Philadelphia headquarters.

All the talks will be live streamed and posted to

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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