By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The Starkville School District Board of Trustees announced the list of five semifinalists for the superintendent position yesterday during a special meeting.
The following candidates were named semifinalists in alphabetical order: Walter Gonsoulin, assistant superintendent of the Starkville School District; Lewis Holloway, superintendent of Bulloch County School District, Statesboro, Ga.; Charles “Michael” McInnis, superintendent of Union Public School District; David A. (Andy) Parker, principal of Bay St. Louis-Waveland High School and former assistant superintendent of Pascagoula School District; and Michael Van Winkle, assistant superintendent of Jackson County School District.
“Let me say that it is still the feeling of the board that we have a very strong pool,” board President Keith Coble said. “We were very pleased with the candidates that we’ve seen on paper.”
The Mississippi School Board Association performed background checks on each of the candidates and confirmed they are willing to continue with the interview process.
The board voted to proceed with a two-step process for the remainder of the search. Board member Pickett Wilson suggested they move the process along as quickly as possible since other area school districts are also conducting superintendent searches.
The board will conduct the first round of interviews in executive session on Saturday, Jan 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each candidate was allotted approximately an hour and a half for the initial interview. The public will not be allowed to attend the first-round interviews.
Following the first round of interviews, the board will narrow the list of candidates again, likely to three candidates, though Wilson suggested they wait until after the initial interviews to determine an exact number.
The second step will be a public interview, tentatively held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 in the Starkville High School theater. An alternative date has been set for Monday, Feb. 6, in case any of the candidates have scheduling conflicts.
Though the specifics of that event have not been finalized, the board members discussed giving each candidate approximately 15 minutes to give a presentation, followed by a 15 minute interview round with the board.
The board will use questions sent in by the public during the interview portion. SSD Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas will collect the questions through Monday, Jan. 30. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
A 45-minute reception will follow the interviews, giving the public a chance to meet the candidates.
Those who attend the public event will be given an evaluation form to complete which will assist the board in their final decision.
The board voted to move their next regular board meeting to Monday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. in order to accommodate the alternative date for the public interview.