Nikolai Vitti, 40, was chosen with a 6-1 vote by the Detroit school board. Vitti is currently the superintendent for Duval County Public Schools, which includes the city of Jacksonville.
In a statement from DPS, "Tonight the board, unanimously voted on a motion to enter into negotiations with Nikolai Vitti."
Vitti was one of two finalists for the position, along with Derrick Coleman the River Rouge schools superintendent. A third finalist, Orlando Ramos of Milwaukee Public Schools dropped out.
Duval is a B-rated school district for the second year in a row. When Vitti was hired Duval was graded a C.
Detroit, though a much smaller district than Duval, has its own major problems, including low passing rates on national and statewide tests, aging buildings, possible school closures and heavy state influence. More than half the city’s students attend charter schools.
However that district’s graduation rate is just short of Duval’s 78.8 percent graduation rate.
Vitti is a native of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. His four children attend Duval public schools and his wife, Rachel Vitti, is best known for being an advocate for homosexual and transgender rights and for children with dyslexia.
Vitti released a statement:
"Over the years, I have been asked and recruited to consider opportunities in other school districts, charter networks, and in the private sector. I have not considered those opportunities for over four years. Most recently, I was recruited by a search firm to consider returning home to serve the City of Detroit as its superintendent. Right now there are few, if any, challenges on a national level to traditional public education more than in Detroit. It was too difficult to walk away from this challenge and opportunity."