By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo’s school board learned on Wednesday about the 21 applicants who want to be the school district’s next superintendent.
Mike Waldrop, the executive director of the Mississippi School Boards Association, presented the board with a profile of each of those candidates during a three-hour executive session of a special-called board meeting.
Tupelo used the MSBA to conduct its search to replace Randy Shaver, who was given an early release from his contract as superintendent in April.
The board will hold another special-called meeting on Feb. 1 to determine whom it will interview. That meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the district’s central office and will likely be conducted in executive session. The number of candidates to be interviewed has not been determined.
The 21 applicants include eight superintendents, four former superintendents, two deputy/assistant superintendents, a director of curriculum and professional development, four school principals and two educational consultants who were former superintendents.
Thirteen applicants are from Mississippi and eight are from outside the state, including three from Alabama and one each from Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and South Carolina.
“The board was very impressed with the depth and quality of the applicants we were presented with,” board member Rob Hudson said. “You never know what to expect, and we were excited and impressed.”
The board has said it wants to have the new superintendent named this spring.
“There is a sense of urgency, but at the same time, we want to be very thorough,” Hudson said. “The sooner, the better.”
During the meeting, Waldrop presented information about each candidate according to the search criteria established during September’s community stakeholder meetings, Hudson said.
“We are extremely pleased with the caliber of candidates in our pool,” said board president Amy Heyer. “A detailed analysis was shared with the board. Each application was carefully reviewed, analyzed and evaluated according to the criteria established from stakeholder input.”
Candidate names will not be released because some have not informed their respective boards or their community that they have applied for the post, Heyer said.
“If information gets out at this point in the search, you could lose some of your candidates,” Waldrop said.