Dr. Watlington is a visionary educator with 27 years of experience, who began his career as a history teacher in Guilford County, NC, in 1994. Since January 2021, he has served as superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools, North Carolina’s only Renewal School District. He previously served as Chief of Schools in Guilford County Schools, the third-largest school district in North Carolina and the 47th largest among 14,000 school districts in the United States.
Dr. Watlington is a collaborative, results-oriented leader focused on improving systems that lead to an extraordinary education for every student every day. A first-generation college graduate and a champion for equity, he is committed to building collaborative school and community teams accountable for creating life-changing opportunities for all children while significantly reducing achievement and opportunity gaps.
He received his undergraduate degree in History Education from North Carolina A&T State University, a Master’s degree in American Political History from The Ohio State University, and a Master’s degree in School Administration and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where he was a North Carolina Principal Fellow. Watlington also holds training certificates from Harvard and Yale Universities and is a member of the National Urban Superintendent’s Academy sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
Outside of work, his interests include spending time with his family, volunteering in his community, CrossFit training, running 5Ks, traveling to historic sites, learning to play his guitar, good food, and conversation, and he enjoys an occasional basketball game with his three sons, Tony Jr., Aaron, and Caleb.