Superintendent search down to two

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And then there were two.

After seven interviews of the original 27 applicants, BrookhavenSchool District board members have decided to bring two candidatesback in for questioning. One of them will be asked to take over forretiring Superintendent Lea Barrett.

“We’re excited about the two people that are remaining,” said CarlAycock, school board vice chairman. “We feel like that we’re goingto get us a good superintendent.”

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The school board met last week to discuss recent interviews.

After comparing lists of top candidates, the board thoughtadditional interviews were needed before making a decision.However, the extra interviews are not to be mistaken for divisionwithin the school board.

“The meeting went well. We’re all on the same page and on tracktogether,” said Aycock, who did not identify to two finalists.”There’s great, great cohesiveness among the group.”

Aycock mentioned the first round of interviews, which ended justbefore Christmas went well and there were many notablecandidates.

“There’s a lot of emotions involved,” Aycock said of the interviewprocess. “You’re dealing with some people you know and some peopleyou don’t know.”

Aycock said the board asked potential candidates about ways toimprove the school district and questioned applicants on theirability to be a strong representative of the district.

“These two (remaining) candidates have presented themselves welland presented knowledge on the school systems and the need foracademic success,” he said.

Aycock said the board is still on track to have a newsuperintendent verbally committed by the end of the month, and theadditional interviews will take place in the next couple ofweeks.

“There’s no reason, unless something unforeseen happens, for us todilly daddle around or delay this,” said Aycock. “We’re gettingdown to the wire, so it’s going to happen real soon.”

The re-interviews of the two candidates will be similar to thefirst set of interviews. Once again, each candidate will be calledbefore the board and will be asked various questions.

“We do not meet with people individually, we meet as a full boardbecause we can only make decisions as a full board,” saidAycock.

Once the board decides upon a candidate, the length of time untilthat applicant would become the acting superintendent would dependon several factors, including if they were from inside or outsidethe school district.

“They would have to inform their employer of their desire to getout of their contract,” said Aycock. “Somebody inside the districtwould also have to get out of their contract, but obviously thatwould be an easier process.”

While the task of finding a new superintendent has required someadditional homework, Barrett has been impressed with the board’sefforts.

“I think the board has done an excellent job of managing theprocess,” said Barrett. “The Brookhaven School District has thebest board of trustees in the state, and their commitment tofinding another superintendent shows their commitment to thechildren of this district and the entire community.”

Barrett is excited to discover who her replacement will be, but shethinks whoever that is will be stepping into a greatposition.

“This school district has some tremendous teachers,” said Barrett.”To be the superintendent in Brookhaven is truly an honor.”