Education

Fayette school board plans to interview at least 4 interim superintendent candidates on Nov. 20

Fayette County Public Schools central offices at 701 East Main Street, Lexington.
Fayette County Public Schools central offices at 701 East Main Street, Lexington. Herald-Leader

Fayette County school board chairman John Price said Thursday that the board hoped to interview at least four candidates next Thursday for the job of interim superintendent.

Price, who said there could be more candidates, revealed those plans after the board finished a closed meeting that lasted slightly more than an hour. Price did not identify the four. He said Mike Oder, a Kentucky School Boards Association superintendent search consultant, would ask all the candidates for permission to make their names public.

Some people have approached board members about the interim job. The board also is also reviewing a list of retired Kentucky superintendents who are willing to serve on a temporary basis.

"They've got a great sense of who they are looking for for the position of acting superintendent," said Oder, who has helped find more than 100 superintendents in Kentucky during the past eight years. "I was just here mainly to talk about candidates."

Before going into closed session, the board officially accepted Superintendent Tom Shelton's resignation.

He announced Nov. 6 that he was leaving to become executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents. His last work day will be Dec. 12.

The temporary appointment would be for six months, while the school district searches for a new superintendent.

The interim superintendent would be "a person with a lot of great people skills," said Price. "We need to work on the culture of our district to make sure that we are all on the same page, that we are all focused on student achievement, that we are all working together for the benefit of our students."

He said the board faced important decisions during the next six months, and the interim superintendent would need to begin working on those issues immediately.

"We can't hire a permanent superintendent immediately," Price said.

Price said he didn't know when the board would make a decision about the interim job. He said next week's interviews could be just the first round.

During the open part of Thursday's meeting, the board discussed priorities for the interim superintendent:

■ Redistricting, which is necessary because of the addition of two new elementary schools and a new high school.

■ Response to this year's state audit that criticized the district's financial management.

■ Staffing and budget.

■ Bridging the achievement gap for poor, disabled and minority students. The state says several schools are struggling.

"We tried to pick those issues that were most critical to the success of our students," Price said.

Board members decided they would ask the interim candidates how they would handle communication, relations with the school board and equity issues, among other things.

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