Flanked by students from one of Baltimore’s newest public schools in John Eager Howard Elementary came a formal introduction that would ring citywide.
"Ladies and gentleman, Dr. Gregory Thornton."
And with that, a new CEO takes over a school system in transition.
"I can't tell you how delighted I am to be with you here in Baltimore," Thornton said.
In July, Thornton will leave his position as the superintendent of the public school system in Milwaukee to assume the reigns of a system that has the most rundown schools in Maryland, now preparing for a major makeover.
"We're beginning the process of building new schools and renovating others thanks to the historic billion dollar investment we all fought so hard for," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Along with the bricks and mortar will come a controversial shift in classroom practices with the Common Core curriculum and a pledge to close the achievement gaps.
"They'll live all over the world and it's our job to make them competitive no matter where they go... that they can stand up real tall and real proud and stick those chest out, 'I'm from Baltimore City Public Schools,' said Thornton.
Thornton has also pledged to spread the magic created in the classrooms to the surrounding communities reaching out to parents, churches and businesses in the process.
It worked in Milwaukee, even earning Thornton a recent contract extension, raising some question over whether he's coming to Baltimore for the long haul.
"I'm prepared to sign a pretty long term contract, if they're willing to give it,” said Thornton, “They want to test drive me. They want to see what I can do. Maryland is my home. I mean my grandparents are buried up the road a little bit. I went to Salisbury State University... my Master's Degree. My son graduated from Bowie. My roots run deep in the state. I'm in love with the Chesapeake Bay. This should be it."
Thornton also threw his name into contention for the job six years ago when Dr. Andres Alonso was selected.
Reportedly, the job was posted with a starting pay of $290,000 per year.