Super finalists to be named

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finalists for the next Covington County Schools superintendent have been chosen and will be made public one week from today.

The Alabama Association of School Boards was hired to help the system in its selection process, with consultant Hank Jones leading the process. He said previously AASB will chose five finalists from the applications and present the findings on April 30.

The applications period closed April 18, and Jones said previously he expected a pool of 10 to 15 applicants. On Monday, Jones said he hasn’t seen the final list of applicants; however, the committee will begin vetting those today.

“I can say, I had 20 contacts about the position, but I don’t think we’ll have that many applications,” he said.

Since the AASB is handling the hiring process, the public – and the school board – will never know the identities of all the applicants, but that doesn’t mean the board has been “hands-off” during the process.

“I think it is safe to say (the board) is ready to get this behind us,” said board president James “Jimmy” Prestwood. “I’m excited to see who will be on the list. The rumor mill says that there were several in the county who applied, but I don’t have any way to know about the out-of-towners. I think we’ll have a good pool to chose from.”

Prestwood said board members are continuing to work on interview questions.

“That’s going to be the main thing we talk about at our workshop that night, too,” he said of the Tuesday meeting.

Interviews, which will be open to the public, will begin May 6, he said.

“And I expect those to take four to five days,” Prestwood said. “I think we’ll try to do one candidate a day. I’m not sure if they’ll want to visit the schools, but I bet the out-of-town candidates will.”

In a community survey, participants believed candidates should have an educational background, hold a master’s level degree and have administrative and management experience. Residents didn’t believe candidates should have previous superintendent experience and were evenly split on whether or not candidates should be hired from outside the system versus within the system.

The new superintendent will be named June 3, with his or her first day on the job scheduled for July 1. Superintendent Terry Holley will remain on staff until August to help during the transition period.