Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the choice of Cortines immediately after Tuesday's vote and expressed confidence in him.
Cortines is currently senior deputy superintendent. He will replace David L. Brewer III, a retired Navy admiral whose critics called him an ineffective figurehead. The board last week bought out Brewer's contract for about $500,000.
The 76-year-old Cortines was previously interim superintendent of the 700,000-student Los Angeles district in 2000 and also led school districts in New York and San Francisco.
- Get more local news headlines from Los Angeles
- Have a news tip? Send your tips, video, or pictures