Biloxi NAACP questions search process for new superintendent

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Representatives from the Mississippi School Boards Association gave an overview of their nationwide search for a new Biloxi Schools Superintendent Tuesday. The organization was hired by the Biloxi School Board to advertise for the position, interview applicants and provide a detailed report on the candidates and their qualifications.

"We received 20 applications for the position," announced Dr. Harold Fisher, a consultant for the MSBA.

Of the 20 applicants, 16 are from Mississippi, including some from south Mississippi. The rest are from Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Seventeen have doctorate degrees. Their experience ranges from superintendents to independent consultant.

"Based on our interviews, we had a very knowledgeable group of candidates. It's one of the stronger pools that we've had, a real good pool," said Dr. Michael Waldrop, Mississippi School Boards Association Executive Director.

Several members of the Biloxi branch of the NAACP and the Save Our Schools Coalition showed up at the meeting, hoping to learn the names of the candidates. However, the meeting moved into an executive session.

"I found out they're going to be very secretive about the process. This is probably the most important district position on the coast," said Vernon Mangum, Biloxi NAACP First Vice President. "We haven't received anything or any information about that, and this meeting in special session. Nothing was given out, just rhetoric."

"We will not discuss the candidates until we have an executive session," said Fisher. "We've assured the candidates that the information that we have will be held in the strictest of confidence to protect them, as well as the district."

Biloxi School Board members will narrow down the list of candidates and conduct their own interviews. They hope to hire a new superintendent by mid-May. That person will replace Dr. Paul Tisdale who is retiring at the end of June.

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