The Orange County Board of Education has begun the interview process in its search for a candidate to fill the school system's vacant superintendent position, hoping to hire someone by November.
After former superintendent Todd Wirt stepped down in June, the board named an interim superintendent to serve as it worked to fill the position. The board has 30 candidates for the position and met in a closed session to discuss them on Aug. 8.
“We used this opportunity to discuss and select by consensus our top candidates,” said Board Chair Will Atherton in an email.
Atherton said the next step in the process is to interview select candidates from the pool of applicants. Applications were due July 7, and it listed that a successful candidate must demonstrate ability and success in 13 skill sets, including educational leadership, fostering community and developing school cultures.
Atherton said the board has gathered feedback from the school community through surveys and meetings with the public, in addition to meeting with consultants at the North Carolina School Boards Association.
“The board will continue this careful, deliberate approach with assistance from our search consultants, as we identify the right candidate to lead our school system,” Atherton added.
Following Wirt’s resignation, the board named Randy Bridges, a former OCS superintendent from 1997 to 2002, to serve as the interim superintendent for the duration of the search.
For the past two months, Bridges said, he has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school system. He said he’s been working closely with the board, hiring employees for the upcoming school year and preparing for the return of all staff and students for the 2019-20 school year.
Bridges said OCS has been focusing on equity over the years, and he hopes the new superintendent will continue that conversation.
“Orange County Schools is fortunate that political leaders value having quality education experiences provided to all children,” Bridges said in an email. “The new superintendent would be wise to make every effort to embrace this learning community.”
Since the board hopes to name a new superintendent by November, the transition from Bridges to a permanent replacement will likely happen during the school year. Bridges said this will give the new superintendent the opportunity to see how the system functions, learn and ask questions as they get started.
Atherton said the board is eager to begin interviews.
“This next phase of the process will be important as we meet candidates individually to learn more about their backgrounds and skill sets, as well as allow the candidates to learn more about Orange County Schools and our vision, goals and priorities for advancing the success of all students within the school system,” he said.
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