Trustees to invite applicants to meet
Trustees have identified several "really good" candidates from among more than 60 people who have applied for the position of superintendent of island schools, said Rick Adams, president of the Port Aransas ISD Board of Trustees.
Applications have come in from folks including sitting superintendents, assistant superintendents and principals, said Carol Moffett, president of Texas School Solutions, the search firm hired by trustees to build a list of candidates for the Port Aransas job.
"I'm enthused about both the number and the quality of the applicants, and I know PAISD will find an outstanding superintendent among them," Moffett wrote in an e-mail to the South Jetty.
At meetings on Nov. 1 and 2, trustees got their first look at the names of candidates who had applied by the deadline of Oct. 24. The meetings were closed to the public. State law allows school boards to hold closed sessions when discussing personnel issues.
During the weekend meetings, trustees directed Moffett to contact some of the best candidates - about 10 of them - and confirm that they are committed to serving in the role of superintendent of Port Aransas schools if called upon.
Once Moffett finishes determining which of the top applicants seem completely committed to the possibility of taking the PAISD superintendent's job, those candidates will be invited for interviews with trustees on Nov. 13, 14 and 16, Adams said. All of the interviews will be done in closed session, he said.
The goal by the end of the day on Nov. 16 is to have the pool whittled down to what likely will be two to four candidates, Adams said. Those candidates then would be invited back for second interviews. They would be asked to bring their spouses also so the couples can have social gatherings with school board members in order to better gauge whether Port Aransas is a good fit for the candidates and their families, Adams said.
After the second interviews are finished, school board members hope to publicly name a single top candidate to whom trustees plan to offer the job. State law requires that trustees then wait 21 days after that before offering the candidate a contract.
In an interview on Monday, Nov. 3, Adams reiterated his position that the board likely will not publicly release the names of all interviewed candidates. "I don't anticipate" releasing more than one name, he said. The 21-day waiting period will begin immediately after the lone finalist is named.
Adams said he was leaving open the possibility that more than one name might be released, since the law allows it. However, he said he "can't speak to what scenario would come up that we would" release more than one name.
He said the board likely will release only one because it could hurt candidates' standings with their current school boards if board members learn they have been interviewing for jobs outside their district.
PAISD would be less likely to get many good candidates if candidates knew their names might be released to the public, Adams said.
The South Jetty on Oct. 28 delivered Adams a letter requesting that the Board of Trustees release the names of the finalists that the board selects to interview in person. The letter cited the Texas Open Meetings Act (also known as the Open Records Act), which states that trustees must give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered for the position (of superintendent) at least 21 days before the date of the meeting at which a final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the person."
The law gives trustees the option of naming just one finalist or several finalists.
On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Wayne Johnson, PAISD's interim superintendent, hand-delivered a letter from Adams to Mary Judson, the South Jetty's editor and co-publisher, in response to the newspaper's request.
The letter did not specifically address the South Jetty's request for the release of the names of all finalists who will be interviewed.
The letter did say the Board of Trustees will comply with state law.
"The PAISD Board of Trustees will release the name(s) of the finalist(s) as soon as consensus is reached," the letter stated, in part.
"As soon as the board has determined finalist(s), you will be promptly notified," the letter said.
The South Jetty's request, however, was not just for finalists' names, but for the names of all finalists selected for interviews.