Tutwiler's appointment as superintendent is effective Aug. 1.
"He's definitely the clear-cut candidate for the job and I know he's going to do a great job," said John Ford, a member of the School Committee.
Tutwiler has been deputy superintendent of the Lynn Public Schools for nearly three years. Before his tenure in Lynn, he spent two years as headmaster of Brighton High School and six years as principal of Wayland High School. His 18-year career in teaching and administration began in 2000 with a four-year stint as a history teacher in Brighton.
School Committee member Jared Nicholson said the months-long process to hire a superintendent was thorough, which included input from hundreds of people through surveys and focus groups.
"I think that no matter how many finalists we would have had, I think that Dr. Tutwiler is the best person for the position," Nicholson said.
Nicholson said he was impressed by Tutwiler's work to close the achievement gap in Wayland Public Schools. In Lynn, he said Tutwiler has worked with suspension rates in the secondary schools and has achieved results.
Lorraine Gately, a member of the School Committee, said she was voting for Tutwiler based on the support her constituents have shown for him because they are the people she represents.
School Committee vice-chair Donna Coppola said Tutwiler wasn't her first choice for the position, but voted in favor after talking to a lot of people and Tutwiler himself.
"I'm going to hold your feet to the fire," said Coppola. "We want to see change. A lot of parents out there are looking for things to be different and that's what I'm hoping for too."
Mayor Thomas M. McGee, chairman of the School Committee, said the search process came down to three quality candidates.
The other finalist up for consideration by the School Committee on Thursday night was Jessica Huizenga, Achieve 3000 director of strategic achievement. A third finalist, Marice Edouard-Vincent, instructional superintendent for Boston Public Schools, was hired as the superintendent in Medford and withdrew from consideration.
"It's great to have the process select what we know is going to be the best person to move this city forward," said McGee.
McGee also thanked Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham, who will be retiring at the end of the school year, who he said has been a clear leader of the school district for many years.
Tutwiler earned his bachelor's degree at College of the Holy Cross, where he played basketball, and a master's in education from Harvard University. He has a doctorate of philosophy in curriculum and instruction from Boston College.
A Chicago native, Tutwiler grew up in Champaign, Ill., and lived in Texas for five years while his mother earned a doctorate at the University of Texas. He spent his high school years in St. Paul, Minn.