Real vetting of superintendent candidates begins

It's odd that the search for Fayette County Public Schools superintendent produced not a single finalist from out of state.

The Fayette school board was wise, though, not to have advanced an inferior candidate just to have an out-of-state finalist in the mix.

And the board and public have an excellent opportunity to do their own reconnaissance and research.

Two of the finalists are from just across the county line — Clark County superintendent Elaine Farris and Jessamine County Superintendent Lu Young. The third, Tom Shelton, is superintendent in Daviess County, three hours to the west.

The public can assess the finalists themselves firsthand at public forums Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The forums, which begin at 5:30 p.m. at the district's headquarters on East Main, will follow a daylong round of interviews and meetings for each of the candidates.

While it may be disappointing that no out-of-state stars are competing to come to Lexington, it's flattering and reassuring that respected educators who are familiar with Fayette schools consider this a desirable post and an opportunity for success.

Thanks to Farris, Shelton and Young for their willingness to publicly put themselves on the line.

The search firm that's assisting the Fayette County school board is playing the same role in the search for a Louisville superintendent.

The Louisville search produced two finalists who are superintendents in other states.

Louisville's enrollment (98,000-plus) is more than double that of Fayette's (about 37,000). So the districts don't necessarily draw from the same candidate pool.

And it's possible that school administrators, like many in this uncertain economy, are reluctant to leave a secure job.

Still, people may wonder if Louisville got more benefit than Lexington from the efforts of their shared search firm.

We'll probably never know. But, if after a thorough and public vetting of the finalists, the Fayette board is still dissatisfied, it can always reopen the search.