FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward County School Board has appointed a new superintendent after a lengthy search process that spanned several months.

In a 7-2 vote on Thursday, Dr. Peter Licata, a native of South Florida and Broward County, and the current regional superintendent of schools in Palm Beach County, was appointed as the next superintendent of Broward County Public Schools.

School board members erupted into applause when the vote was taken.

Licata spoke to reporters shortly after.

“This is a dream job. I’m coming home,” he said. “We get one shot at this, and I’m not spending it on the sidelines. We get one shot to make an impact in something we love.”

Courtesy The School District of Palm Beach County

Licata, who emerged as one of three finalists for the position, was favorite with board members, who said that since he is currently a top educator in Florida, he already knows the challenges and can hit the ground running in Broward.

“I’m so excited to have Dr. Peter Licata as the next superintendent. I believe he is the transformational leader that we were seeking for Broward County Public Schools,” said Broward County School Board Chair Lori Alhadeff. “I believe, through his words and actions, that he will take us to become an “A” school district.

Speaking to the board on Wednesday, Licata expressed his dedication to the role during the final phase of the selection process.

“I have spent 29 years in Palm Beach County. If you are looking for someone who can transform Broward to the next level, that doesn’t negotiate the value system in any way, that every child walking through the door is considered important, that’s who I am,” said Licata.

He also acknowledged the demanding nature of the job, stating, “It’s a 24/7 job, and it’s an honor to have that role.”

Licata, who grew up in Pompano Beach and went to McNab Elementary School, is also a favorite with many in the community. Members of the community who spoke before the vote was taken shared words of praise for him.

“I believe he was, in fact, best suited to serve as our next superintendent,” said a woman.

The county’s previous superintendent, Vickie Cartwright, agreed to step down from her position in January following a unanimous decision by the school board on a separation agreement.

Cartwright officially left the role in February.

Licata said he is aware he has a lot of work to do and hopes to bring unity to the school district and this community.

“There’s a lot to do. I’ve got to wrap my head around this, and I’ve got to get some direction from the chair, but we want to make sure that we’re addressing the highest needs. School starts in, what, 45 days, something like that, so we have to make sure that everyone is ready,” he said. “The children have to be walking into a school that they’re welcome to, and it’s ready to start teaching on the first day. End of discussion.”

The next step for Licata is to begin contract negotiations with the district. Board members are scheduled to discuss the matter on June 29.

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