With the lower level of the Government Center closed to the public, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board brought in its first four candidates for superintendent on Wednesday, with another two or three coming Thursday.
The board’s search consultant, McPherson & Jacobson, has emphasized the importance of confidentiality at this point. Candidates seldom want their current employer to know they’re job-hunting, and North Carolina law allows personnel matters to be handled in closed session.
The school board convened at 11 a.m. Wednesday, immediately voted to go into closed session and left the meeting chamber. Board Chair Mary McCray and CMS spokeswoman Renee McCoy said the interviews would happen on the lower level, which is closed to anyone who doesn’t have an ID badge indicating they work there.
Wednesday’s interviews and board discussions were slated to go on for nine hours or more, with the board re-convening at 7:15 a.m. Thursday. The schedule calls for interviewing finalists Dec. 5 and 6. Board leaders say they have yet to decide whether that process will include public sessions.
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The board hopes to make the transition early in 2017, before Superintendent Ann Clark’s contract expires in June.
The candidates have seen Charlotte at its most dramatic. The search firm got 51 applications in September, when the city made national and international news because of riots that followed a police shooting. And they arrived on a day when smoke from wildfires in western North Carolina was so heavy that CMS was keeping students inside because of poor air quality.