COLUMBIA — Starting Feb. 3, the public can meet the finalists for superintendent of Columbia Public Schools. By then, the field of five candidates — narrowed from 17 by the Columbia School Board on Thursday — will be down to two or three, according to a press release from the district.
Public receptions will be held from 5 to 5:45 p.m. Feb. 3 and Feb. 5 at West Junior High School, 401 Clinkscales Road. The candidates will be given time to comment and answer questions after the receptions, from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Then the school board will meet in closed session to conduct final interviews.
"The board will be in attendance at the reception and will listen to questions asked as well as the candidates' answers," Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett said.
If necessary, a third meeting with the public will be held Feb. 10.
The five candidates under consideration will be interviewed this coming week.
A former deputy superintendent for Columbia Public Schools is one of five candidates under consideration for the district’s top job. Jacque Cowherd, who left the district in February 2007, confirmed Saturday he is a candidate, but Cowherd declined to say more until he speaks with the Columbia School Board.
The board will select two or three finalists by Feb. 1.
As for the results after the final interviews and the time it will take the board to select the new superintendent, Barnett said that it's "not known". She added, "It is possible that there will be further questions, they (the board) may still visit the school district where they (the candidates) are employed, or further reference checks."
Former Superintendent Phyllis Chase retired in August. Since then, Jim Ritter has been the interim superintendent.