The names are in, but the public will have to wait until January to know who’s in the running for superintendent of Starkville School District.
The district board of trustees met Thursday with the Mississippi School Boards Association, which provided the results of 23 interviews for the vacant position. Interviews were conducted in Clinton.
MSBA, contracted by the district to assist with the search, delivered profiles and results of the interviews without making recommendations.
The association advised the board to keep names of the candidates confidential until a short list is finalized, Board President Keith Coble said.
Board members will conduct their own research on the candidates and may compile a short list of candidates to interview at their January meeting.
“We’ve got a lot of reading to do over the holidays,” Coble said.
Of the 22 applicants — one withdrew from consideration — 19 are male and three are female. Fourteen applicants are from Mississippi while two are from Alabama. The other six are from Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Coble declined comment when asked if any of the candidates from Mississippi are from the Golden Triangle.
Assistant Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin is one of the 22 applicants and was a finalist for the superintendent position in Lafayette, La.
Six applicants are superintendents, three are assistant superintendents, two are former superintendents, two are directors of curriculum, five are school principals, three are independent consultants, and one is assistant to the conservator of a school district.
Twenty of the applicants have a doctoral degree — one of eight requirements voted on by the board — while two do not. A doctorate wasn’t a requirement in the last superintendent search. Coble said the board will hold true to the requirements.
“We voted to make that requirement, and we haven’t taken votes to change that requirement,” Coble said.
A timeline hasn’t been set to have a superintendent named. Finalists will be formally announced in January.
Coble said the board was impressed with the pool despite having just an overview of each applicant. He lauded the association’s work in selecting the applicants.
MSBA checked references and did additional personal research on each candidate.
“Just their contacts, their ability to check references in a way that we as board members could never do, that was pretty clear for us today,” Coble said.
The association is conducting superintendent searches for the school districts of Tupelo, Columbus, Starkville, Oxford and Natchez. All the districts have different target dates for hires. MSBA consultant Harold Fischer said there are overlapping candidates for multiple jobs.
“We know this is a competitive market for superintendents, but we’ve also made a commitment to do this search in a thorough manner,” Coble said.
The district is replacing Judy Couey, who resigned in April. Couey became superintendent in July 2008. She came to the district as assistant superintendent in June 2006.