A Metro section article yesterday incorrectly stated one of the benefits for Arthur W. Gosling, Arlington's new school superintendent. Gosling will receive up to $3,600 a year in reimbursements for professional and business expenses.

Arthur W. Gosling, who has managed schools in the fastest growing section of Fairfax County for four years, was named yesterday to head the smaller, but more culturally diverse, Arlington County school system.

Gosling, 48, leaves a $62,816-a-year position that placed him over 35,000 Fairfax students to succeed Charles E. Nunley as superintendent of the 15,000-student Arlington system. Gosling, who will be paid $70,000 a year, was described as the School Board's first choice in a national search that brought in candidates from 33 states.

Nunley, 55, who had failed to win the confidence of Arlington School Board members, had announced in September that he would not seek a second four-year term. Nunley said yesterday he had not made plans for what he will do next.

His career in Arlington was a rocky one, marked by clashes with parents who complained he was not responsive, teachers who voted "no confidence" in his leadership last year and a school board that discussed firing him in 1983, but then retreated for lack of a unanimous vote from its five members.

School Board Chairman Gail Nuckols said Gosling, one of Fairfax's four area superintendents, best met the board's criteria for running a system that has a 44 percent minority enrollment and a student body that speaks 60 languages.

Gosling, she said, is what the board wanted: "a team builder or 'enabler' who works well with staff and an activist community . . . and has the capacity to work effectively with diverse minority communities . . . and appreciates the need to meet very pluralistic student needs."

The new superintendent, who will assume his post July 1, said he did not apply for the Fairfax school superintendent's job, which was filled last week with the appointment of Boston School Superintendent Robert R. Spillane.

But Gosling joked that when he learned of the criteria for the Arlington job: "I decided to test myself. I went out to the Potomac and tried to determine if I could walk on water . . . . I did not sink in that test."

Nuckols said that Gosling would find himself in a position requiring "political astuteness" because of the need to work closely with the elected County Board, which appoints the Arlington School Board and finances most of its budget, and an "education-conscious population."

"Our fundamental responsbility is to do the best with what we have for the young people who are coming to us," Gosling said. "If that's not enough, we need to demonstrate to others we need the resources to fulfill our responsibilities."

Gosling said the major issue he will face is retaining confidence in the school system from parents and the other 82 percent of the county's households that do not have children in the schools.

He said he also wants to examine the adequacy of teacher salaries and incentives to keep them in teaching to avoid shortages. He said he was not generally an advocate of merit pay, but tended to favor other approaches such as offering teachers career ladders, an advancement system Arlington has been studying.

An Ohio native who began his 26-year career in education as an English teacher, Gosling was described yesterday as a strong instructional leader and innovator and fiscal moderate. William J. Burkholder, the retiring Fairfax superintendent, called Gosling "a good administrator with instructional leadership abilities.

"He's certainly not fiscally conservative, but he's certainly not a spendthrift, either," Burkholder said. He cited a teacher-exchange program Gosling created to allow teachers to switch to another school within the system to take advantage of different educational experiences.

Bonnie Pfoutz, vice president of the Arlington Education Association, which represents most of the county's 900 teachers, said Fairfax teachers also make "very positive comments" about Gosling.

As superintendent for southwestern Fairfax's Area IV school division, Gosling was responsible for the operation of 34 schools and had a support staff of 90 persons.

Gosling, who is married and has three children, received a history degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, a master of arts degree from Kent State University and a doctorate in education from Indiana University. During his career, he has also been an education association representative from his school, a principal and assistant superintendent in school systems in Ohio, Illinois and New Jersey.

Nuckols said Gosling will get the standard schoolwide insurance benefits, $250 a month for car expenses, and reimbursements of up to $3,600 a month for professional and business expenses, in addition to his salary.