Five finalists chosen to fill Knox Schools superintendent's job

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Knoxville (WVLT) - And then there were five. The Knox County School Board has it's first round of finalist for the next superintendent.

Board members narrowed the list down from 12 to five candidates Monday afternoon, and two of the candidates already are assistant superintendents with Knox County.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has the story.

Knox County's been without a permanent superintendent for just more than a year. That's when the board bought out Charles Lindsey's contract. Roy Mullins has served in the meantime. Now board members are in the home stretch.

Knox County School Board members get their homework.

"It's just such an important task, picking the right superintendent," school board chair Karen Carson said.

A four month long process now down to a stack of applications.

"It's during these last couple of weeks that it will seem to move into fast forward," Carson said.

The search firm Ray and Associates contacted 180 possibilities. From there, 48 of them applied. Monday, the search firm gave board member it's top 12.

"The board's consistently stated from the beginning, they want the best person in the job. If that's internal, then that's who we'll go with, if they're external, that's who they'll go with," Carson said.

After more than 2 hours of reading, the board narrowed it down to five. Three external, two already have nameplates.

Jim McIntyre with Boston City Schools, Eric Williams with Collier County Schools in Florida, and Brian Binggeli with Fairfax County Schools in Virginia, all grabbed a spot.
Internally, Assistant Superintendents Donna Wright and Robert Thomas made the cut.

"I'm very honored to be considered in the top five," Wright said.

"It's a tremendous honor to be selected," Thomas said.

The board cut down the interview questions from 24 to 19.

"That the board will ask each candidate . They all will have the same interview, the same amount of time. So that we're just on a level playing field," Carson said.

"These are good candidates, and they could be good anywhere. As I've told the board, at least one or two of them are interviewing with other places," said William Newman from Ray and Associates.

But for one of them, this place will the last.

"I look forward to having our next leader in that position and moving forward with Knox County Schools," Carson said.

Interviews are scheduled to begin this week.

Those interviews are set to start Thursday from nine to eleven, then five to seven, Friday from nine to 11, Saturday from ten to noon, then Monday from five to seven. They've picked Tuesday as a back-up day just in case.

Immediately after the last interview, the board will narrow the candidates down again. This time to the top two or three.

The board plans to visit their districts. If they're external then bring the candidates here so they can meet other Knox County and community officials.

All those dates haven't been set yet.

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