The Bexley Board of Education has selected seven candidates to interview in seeking a replacement for Superintendent Mike Johnson, who will vacate the position in July after 16 years.

Board members discussed the candidates during a March 2 public meeting at the district's Cassingham complex, 326 S. Cassingham Road.

The district had 38 applicants for the position, said James Morse, senior associate with HYA Executive Search, a Schaumburg, Illinois-based firm that was hired to conduct the superintendent search. HYA selected six candidates based on input regarding candidate qualities gathered last fall from board of education members, district employees, parents, students and residents.

"We personally interviewed all six candidates," Morse said. "We also called references and recommendations."

The six candidates HYA referred are:

* Thomas Bailey, assistant superintendent of Three Rivers Local School District, Ohio.

* Craig Doster, who most recently served as superintendent of the Flossmoor School District 161 in Illinois.

* Thomas Harwood, deputy superintendent, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Michigan.

* Kimberly Miller, chief academic officer, Dublin City Schools, Ohio.

* Robyne Thompson, superintendent, East Lansing Schools, Michigan.

* Mark Tompkins, superintendent, Harbor Springs Public Schools, Michigan.

Board members went into executive session to discuss the candidates referred by HYA. After returning to open session, they announced a decision to interview all six candidates and an additional candidate: Andrea Townsend, superintendent of the New Bremen Local Schools in Auglaize County, Ohio.

Board members are scheduled to conduct the first round of interviews in public meetings to be held at 6:30 p.m. March 14 and 5 p.m. March 15 to accommodate the seventh candidate. The board will interview two to three candidates per evening and distribute handouts for the public to use in providing written feedback about the candidates.

Also on March 15, the board is scheduled to discuss the candidate interviews in executive session and then return to open session select two to three semi-finalists. From March 16 through April 2, HYA consultants will conduct background checks on the semi-finalists.

The board will conduct further interviews with semi-finalists at public meetings scheduled for 6 p.m. April 3-5 then vote on a finalist.

Board members and district representatives will visit the finalist's current school district April 11 and 12.

"We will go immerse ourselves in their district" and compare it with Bexley, said Melissa Lacroix, board president.

Board members will then vote to award a contract to the finalist at the board's regularly scheduled monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 17. The new superintendent is scheduled to start Aug. 1.

For more information, visit the district's website, bexleyschools.org.

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