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Richmond School Board set to name superintendent finalists

Richmond School Board set to name superintendent finalists

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The Richmond School Board is promising to name the city’s next school superintendent on Dec. 23, but there will be time for public input as the field of three finalists is narrowed to one in the next week.

The School Board will privately and publicly interview three finalists from the original field of 76 candidates. The board will announce the finalists Monday, then meet with them privately Tuesday.

The finalists will then meet with the public Wednesday. The School Board is setting up a three-hour meeting during which the finalists will spend an hour each with three groups: the public; citizens who were chosen to participate in the search process; and a small group of teachers and administrators.

“Community input has been and continues to be an important part of the superintendent selection process,” said School Board Chairman Jeffrey Bourne, 3 rd District. “We thank the community for its patience as we work to narrow down the list of candidates for the superintendent position to three.

“We are doing so based on the needs of the city and the feedback we have received from the community to date.”

Bourne added: “It is critical that we have the right person at the helm who not only has the vision and expertise to steer us in the right direction, but who also has the support of the community.”

Jonathan Lewis has been the interim superintendent since July 1. He replaced Yvonne W. Brandon, who resigned under pressure in April and left at the end of June.

Lewis retired a year ago as superintendent of Fauquier County and agreed to serve here only on an interim basis. Neither he nor anyone else in the city school system was considered for permanent posting.

By state law, school systems have 180 days in which to replace a superintendent. The deadline in Richmond is Dec. 27.

At the behest of several School Board members, Bourne and Vice Chairman Donald Coleman, 7 th District, asked the state Department of Education for a 30-day extension.

“We respectfully submit that this brief extension of time will allow us to accomplish what we have been working diligently over the past six months to achieve, securing the best candidate to lead our division,” it said in the letter.

The School Board expects the request to be denied, and has since agreed to make a decision in time.

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