The City of Tonawanda Board of Education has officially hired James Newton as the new district superintendent, approving a three-year contract worth $139,000 a year.

Newton, a Tonawanda City School District principal for 15 years who currently supervises the entire secondary complex, was appreciative of the community’s faith in him.

A South Buffalo native, Newton told residents attending the board meeting Tuesday that he admires the way Tonawanda builds a strong work ethic and a desire to do the best for its students.

“I will miss the day-to-day interaction with the students,” he added.

The board appointed Newton to the vacant post two weeks ago by a 6-1 vote, but the terms of Newton’s contract still needed to be finalized.

He succeeds Whitney Vantine, who retired in October.

In other news, the board heard a report about the district’s security following the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. The new superintendent explained the security procedures in place at every building, which includes regular fire drills, locked entrances monitored by school personnel and lockdown plans.

City Police Detective Timothy Toth is working with administrators, and making daily calls to the superintendent, about how to improve security.

“The safety and security of the buildings is an ongoing process,” Toth said.

“We are in communication, quite often, about what we can do better.”