By Tanya Perez-Brennan, Globe Correspondent
In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the Framingham School Committee chose Steven Hiersche as the school district's new superintendent.
Hiersche, who is superintendent for Watertown Public Schools, will begin work in Framingham on July 1.
"It was a very difficult decision," said school committee chairman Phil Dinsky.
"The three candidates were all qualified and in the end, we tried to pick the one that we thought had the best fit for our community."
Stephen Mills, Worcester's deputy superintendent for teaching accountability and learning, and David Fleishman, superintendent of the Chappaqua Central School District in Chappaqua, N.Y., were the other finalists.
Hiersche will be inheriting a school district with 8,400 students and a current budget that tops $87 million. Dinsky said that Hiersche's biggest priorities will be dealing with a ballooning school budget and continuing to provide a quality education with limited resources.
Hiersche is expected to sign a contract by Monday or Tuesday, according to Dinsky, and will earn between $195,000 and $215,000 annually.
Hiersche, who had led Watertown schools since 2004, replaces Eugene Thayer, who took over for Christopher Martes in 2007.