Superintendent search down to two finalists

Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:59 AM

The list of applicants vying for the superintendent job of Durham Public Schools has been trimmed from six to two.
The school board met this morning at a local hotel to interview the two finalists, one of whom could soon be named to the school district’s top post.
The board had set a goal to name the next superintendent by end of the month, but that doesn’t mean the decision couldn’t come sooner.
“The goal is to name someone as soon as we find the right one for Durham,” School board Chairwoman Heidi Carter said in an interview.
Also today, board member Fredrick Davis joined the interview process after vowing that he would not participate if the board allowed three newly-elected members to participate in the process.
Newly-elected board members Mike Lee, Matt Sears and Sendolo Diaminah, who won’t be sworn in until July 7, all have served in an advisory role since the search process begun last week.
It was unclear why Davis decided to help interview the finalists after skipping two days of interviews with semifinalists last week. 
He asked questions about the process shortly after the board voted to go into closed session and was told by Carter that the newly elected members would sit in on the interviews and depart once the board began its deliberations.
Carter said the newly elected members would be asked to submit written statements about what they saw as each candidate’s strength and also any concerns they might have about a particular candidate.
The board voted 4-3 to allow the three board members-elect to join the search process during a contentious board meeting last month. 
Carter and board members Nancy Cox, Leigh Bordley and Natalie Beyer voted in favor of the motion to include the newly-elected members who won’t take office until July.
School board Vice Chairwoman Minnie Forte-Brown and board members Davis and Omega Curtis Parker voted against including them.
Those in favor said allowing board-members elect to participate is one way to build a bridge between new members and old members and to receive additional input from the community on an important decision.
And those who voted against argued that the job of hiring a superintendent is solely that of the current board. They also said it would set a bad precedent to allow anyone other than current members have such an intimate role in the process.
The search for a new superintendent drew interest from 314 people from 48 states, including 98 from 28 states who were interested enough in the job to complete the application package.
The person selected will replace Eric Becoats who resigned in December amid criticism over his management of the school district.