Amid snapping fingers and applause, the Boston School Committee Wednesday night selected Brenda Cassellius to be the next superintendent of the city’s schools.

Citing her political experience and broad appeal, the committee voted 5-2 to select Cassellius, who served for eight years as the commissioner of education for the state of Minnesota.

If Cassellius accepts the job, she would be the fifth superintendent for the district in 10 years. She’d face decisions stemming from declining enrollment, the mayor’s plans to modernize school buildings, uneven outcomes across schools, and wide achievement gaps. She’d also have to rebuild trust with some parents, teachers and activists who have criticized Boston school leaders for lack of transparency and unresponsiveness.

“An emphasis on the whole child, commitment to wrap-around services, respect for teachers and extensive classroom experience confirm that Dr. Cassellius is the only candidate who is fully committed to what is best for our children,” parent Jen Rose-Wood told the school committee Wednesday night.

In a statement following the vote, Cassellius said she was "humbled and honored to join the students, parents, educators and school leaders" of Boston Public Schools.

"I appreciate the rich diversity of Boston and look forward to getting to know and working alongside the entire community on behalf of our students and schools," Cassellius said in the statement. "There is no more worthy work than creating an equitable and excellent education for every child in every neighborhood and every school in Boston."

During her public interviews, Cassellius said she would work to deliver on school committee desires to increase academic rigor at schools, increase inclusive classroom experiences for special education students, and expand instructional options for English learners. She said she’d keep an open mind about closing schools, winning her support from a coalition of parent and activist groups.

Cassellius was one of three finalists who interviewed publicly for the job last week. Marie Izquierdo, the chief academic officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, received two votes from the seven-member committee. Oscar Santos, the former superintendent of Randolph Public Schools and current head of school for Cathedral High School, a Catholic school in the South End, received zero votes.

Read more: Analysis: Boston Superintendent Finalists Offer Different Approaches To Improving Schools

The school committee’s decision came down to Cassellius' support from parents and other groups and her perceived ability to manage the political requirements of the job, including working with the mayor, parent and civil rights groups.

"What I desperately want is I want Boston to start to focus together on improving the district," school committee member Michael O'Neill said.

"What we need is a unifying figure," school committee chair Michael Loconto said. "I want to start fresh and move forward as a district for our kids."

Committee member Alex Oliver-Davila voted for Izquierdo because of her track record turning around under-performing schools in Miami-Dade County and experience improving outcomes for English learners there.

“I believe what we’re doing at the district is not working. I believe that we need a different approach," Oliver-Davila said.

The choice comes after rocky leadership in recent years. Cassellius would replace interim superintendent Laura Perille, who was appointed by the school committee last July. Perille’s appointment drew criticism from some teachers, parents and activists since she came to the role through her job as chief executive officer of EdVestors, a philanthrophy that supports arts and math programming in Boston’s schools. She had never worked as an educator. Perille stepped into the job after superintendent Tommy Chang abruptly resigned.

Cassellius is also a finalist for education commissioner in the state of Michigan, where a decision is due to be made next week.

Our coverage of K through 12 education is made possible with support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.