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Candidate list not narrowed

By Trina Trice

The Clayton County Board of Education hasn't narrowed down its list of 10 or more superintendent candidates, according to a letter obtained by the News Daily.

But an official said when the list is narrowed, the district will comply with the law and release the names.

The board, in a rush to name a superintendent by the end of this month, has yet to publicly release the names of any of the candidates its currently considering.

But the News Daily has been told that current acting superintendent William Chavis is one of them and two assistant DeKalb County assistants have been mentioned as potential candidates. A secret meeting was held Saturday by the chairwoman and vice chairwoman of the school board to interview candidates.

Whitfield County Board of Education in Dalton, Ga., has been searching for a candidate since February when Tom Dickson, currently the superintendent, announced his resignation. Unlike Clayton County, they did a nationwide search and generated 18 applicants. Clayton County did a local search and got around 10 candidates.

The board interviewed six of those applicants recently over a two-day period. Clayton County's interviewing process is shrouted in secret.

A majority of the Clayton County board voted to oust former Superintendent Dan Colwell in January, resulting in a $232,000 buyout of his contract that would have lasted until January 2005.

Whitfield board members set a timeline to find a new superintendent before the end of the school year.

The deadline for applications was April 15. Clayton County board members have set a similar timeline. The board's deadline for applications was April 11.

Connie Kitchens, vice chairwoman, initially said 10 applications had been received, but at a later meeting stated she wasn't sure how many applications had been received.

It is unknown how many candidates Clayton County board members interviewed Saturday.

"We do not at this time have the names of final candidates for the position of Superintendent of Clayton County Schools. When these names come into our possession, we will supply the name or names to you 14 days prior to the final selection as required by law," states the letter signed by Bill Horton, acting Deputy Superintendent.

Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware was asked to give the News Daily the names of the final candidates being considered for Clayton County superintendent in a letter received by the Superintendent's office May 15.

Although several board members, including Ware and Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens, interviewed candidates Saturday at the Courtyard by Marriott in College Park, a list of finalists has yet to emerge.

The board is meeting Wednesday to discuss "personnel matters only" in executive session, according to a copy of the agenda.

When asked what Wednesday's meeting will entail, Horton said he wasn't sure, but that "I know for sure they're meeting tomorrow night and I know for sure they're going through the selection process," he said.

Just as most board members didn't go to Saturday's secret meeting, some are expected not to attend today's session.