After more than a week of screening and interviewing by the Fayette County school board's executive search firm, the superintendent screening committee will begin its work Tuesday.
"McNamara Search has made significant progress in vetting applications against the qualifications identified and profile developed by our community," school board chairman John Price said in a message to families. "It is now time for the representatives elected by employees, parents and community members to begin reviewing application files."
The school board is searching for a replacement for Tom Shelton, whose resignation was effective in December.
The screening committee members are teacher representatives Meribeth Gaines and Jessica Hiler, school board member Daryl Love, principal representative Kate McAnelly, parent representative Sharon Mofield-Boswell, and classified employee representative Julane Mullins.
The group will meet in closed session at 9 a.m. Tuesday and 1 p.m. Wednesday. Committee members also will begin their individual review of application files.
Price said state law is specific about the makeup, selection and responsibilities of the superintendent screening committee. After considering all applicants, the committee will make a recommendation to the school board about which candidates they think are the best fit for the school district. The school board will receive all of the application files.
"While the input and insight of the screening committee is valuable, state law does not require that we hire from among the recommendations of the screening committee," Price said.
He said after the screening committee meets this week, the timetable for the next steps remains flexible.
The board will conduct a round of interviews with semifinalists via the Internet before selecting finalists to bring to Lexington for a round of public interviews.
"We want to give the screening committee adequate time to complete its work, while also moving with deliberate speed in order to name a new superintendent prior to July 1," Price said.
McNamara Search needs time to complete its background checks on top candidates, Price said.
The board hired Lexington's McNamara Search after terminating its contract with the Illinois-based Proact Search when questions were raised about Proact's CEO.
"As we have said multiple times, our top priority is finding the very best superintendent to meet the needs of our students, employees, families and community," Price said. " ... If we do not find the right candidate, we will not rush this process."
The NAACP and other groups have called for school district officials to hire a superintendent with experience in closing the achievement gap between low income, minority and disabled students and other students.