Regional School Unit 3 Superintendent Dr. Paul Austin is entering into contract negotiations with Hingham Public Schools of Massachusetts, The Hingham Journal reported Wednesday night. He will take over his new role at the end of this school year, pending negotiations.

Austin will replace Dr. Dorothy Galo as superintendent, who has been with the school district for 56 years and plans to retire at the end of the school year, the Massachusetts newspaper reported.

In an email to The Republican Journal, Austin said,"I am incredibly excited for the opportunity I have been given in Hingham.

"It has been an honor to serve as Superintendent of RSU 3. I feel so fortunate to have worked with so many talented students, staff and administrators, who are supported by the entire RSU 3 community."

After a four-month search, the school committee voted unanimously to move forward with negotiations with Austin.

Hingham School Committee secretary Kay Praschma told The Hingham Journal that Austin has some big shoes to fill, but said she is confident he is up to the challenge.

"He's genuine, authentic and a great listener," Praschma said.

From a field of 19 applicants for the position, the committee conducted private and public interviews, as well as visits to Hingham Schools, to narrow it down to three candidates: Austin, Hingham Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jamie LaBillios and Dr. Earl Metzler II, a superintendent in New Hampshire. They then performed site visits for the three final candidates and called references to chose who would best fit the position, the newspaper reported.

Austin was hired in June 2015 to succeed outgoing Superintendent Heather Perry at RSU 3.