Fayetteville School Board selects six for first round of superintendent interviews

FILE PHOTO The Fayetteville Public Schools McClinton Administration Building.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School Board narrowed its district superintendent search to six after a special meeting Saturday.

GR Recruiting, the firm leading the process, brought board members a list of 31 candidates to evaluate. The six selected advanced to the first round of interviews, scheduled for next week. A second round of interviews is set for the week of Feb. 13, with the new superintendent to be named after that, according to a news release from board President Nika Waitsman on Saturday.

John L. Colbert, the School District's current superintendent, plans to retire this summer.

Here are the candidates scheduled to be interviewed, according to Waitsman's release:

• Marie Feagins, chief of leadership development and high schools, special assistant to the superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District, Detroit.

• Keith McGee, superintendent of schools, Helena-West Helena School District, Helena-West Helena.

• Jonathan Mulford, deputy superintendent -- operations, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, Mo.

• Jeannine Porter, chief of marketing, communications and strategic initiatives, Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas.

• Anthony Rossetti, superintendent of schools, Webb City R-7 School District, Webb City, Mo.

• Brad Swofford, superintendent, Branson R-IV School District, Branson, Mo.

"A thorough investigation of each candidate was made through candidate interviews by the consultants, an internet and social media check, reference interviews, and discussions with school administrators and individuals familiar with the candidate's abilities and strengths," Waitsman's news release said.

Saturday's board meeting lasted about four hours. After opening with a search overview from GR Recruiting associate Brenda Dietrich, the board received instructions on the ranking procedures and went into executive session. Members deliberated, then consulted with GR Recruiting representatives before announcing the choices and informing those who had made the first round of interviews.

A total of 57 candidates expressed interest in the job, according to GR Recruiting. From that group, 31 completed the application process. Fifteen states were represented among the candidates.

A 10-item position profile was used for evaluations, according to the release. Strong leadership/communication skills, a focus on providing equitable education opportunities and dedication to academic achievement and student success were among the priorities.

The search for the next superintendent started with a planning meeting in September. GR Recruiting met with area stakeholder groups for two days in October, and the deadline to apply was Jan. 10.

By the numbers

A look at the search for the next Fayetteville Public Schools superintendent:

57: Expressed interest in the job

31: Completed the application process

15: Number of states represented among candidates

Source: GR Recruiting