In a 4-2 vote following a closed-door meeting, school board members Deborah Prickett, Chris Malone, Debra Goldman and John Tedesco voted for Tata.
Board members Carolyn Morrison and Kevin Hill voted no. Members Keith Sutton and Anne McLaurin were not in attendance. Board Chair Ron Margiotta did not need to vote.
In a letter Morrison said, "I think we could do better for the parents, children, staff and taxpayers, so I will not vote for (Tata) to be appointed as the next superintendent for the Wake County Public School System."
Following the board's vote, Tata released a statement saying he was humbled to be selected the next superintendent.
"I intend to focus the system's impressive resources on the academic achievement of our students and on closing the achievement gap in student performance. I will ensure our teachers and principals have the resources they need to deliver this improvement. One of my goals will be to energize all aspects of Wake County's very large, complex organization to operate at maximum capacity and minimum cost so that we can push as many resources as possible to where they belong -- the classroom," Tata said.
Tata surfaced as the leading candidate Wednesday.
McLaurin told ABC11 Wednesday night that she was told last week there would be no meetings this week. She also said that she and other board members were not given any material to make an informed decision for any type of vote.
She also said basically to do this two days before Christmas while everyone is off and without any material, "Is just a bad way to govern. It's poor government."
Tata's resume is long and impressive. The 51-year-old attended West Point and Harvard and retired as a Brigadier General after spending 28 years in the Army and commanding paratroopers at Fort Bragg.
Besides the job he's held with the DC school system --stream lining system wide purchases since June of 2009-- critics say he lacks extensive education experience.
"I personally think the priority is to have someone who's been in the ranks, who's been an educator," Yevonne Brannon with Great Schools in Wake Coalition said. "I'm really disappointed in the process."
Tata is expected to start on January 31, 2011. His salary will be around $250,000.
Interim Wake County School Superintendent Donna Hargens will return to her role as the school system's Chief Academic Officer. She was appointed to Wake's interim position in April.