Durham County

And then there were four. Durham school board winnows superintendent field.

The Durham school board trimmed the list of candidates vying for superintendent from 10 to four behind closed doors Wednesday night.

Chairman Mike Lee said the board could pick the next superintendent shortly after the board interviews the finalists Sept. 23 and announce the name once contract negotiations end.

“It could go very fast, or it could take three weeks,” he said. “We’d be lucky to get any of them as our superintendent.”

Several parents have attended recent school board meetings to ask the board to hire someone who is experienced with equity as it pertains to education.

“Experience with equity was at the top of our [school board] lists,” Lee said. “All of these candidates have experience with approaching their work through an equity lens.”

The Durham Public Schools has roughly 33,000 students in 53 schools. The superintendent will oversee a district with a $409.1 million budget (2016-17) and 4,697 employees, including 2,243 teachers, according to the DPS website.

The school board received received 42 applications from candidates vying to replace Superintendent Bert L’Homme when he steps down in September.

The deadline applications was July 10.

The 42 applicants represent the second-highest total ever in a superintendent search conducted by the N.C. School Board Association (NCSBA).

Asheville City Schools received the highest applicant total in an NCSBA search in March when 53 candidates applied to replace Pamela Baldwin who stepped down to become superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645