More than 40 seek Boston school superintendent job

More than 40 individuals have expressed interest in becoming the next superintendent of the Boston school system, according to an update presented Thursday night to a search committee.

The candidates hail from a wide geographic region, from New Hampshire to Colorado. Almost all are educators, including 23 superintendents, and one is a brigade commander.

Thursday’s update was the highlight of the first meeting of the search committee since it voted in May to extend the search into this winter amid public concerns that the group was rushing the process.

Bill Attea of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, the consulting firm hired to vet candidates, gave committee members the update and said that lengthening the search has had no adverse effect on building a strong pool of contenders.


“We are really quite pleased with the response,” he said.

Attea said none of the initial candidates who expressed interest last spring have withdrawn their applications.

Although no names were mentioned, the statement suggests that Massachusetts Education Secretary Matthew Malone remains in the running. The Globe learned of Malone’s candidacy last spring because he was required to file a state conflict of interest disclosure form, which is a public document.

Malone’s duties as education secretary put him in a position of potentially funneling money and resources to Boston, which he promised he would not do in the disclosure form.

The search committee plans to review and interview candidates during several closed-door meetings in January with a goal of presenting semifinalists to the School Committee later that month or in February. The finalists will eventually be interviewed in public sessions.

Three-quarters of the current potential candidates are men. Of the candidates who have completed applications, 13 are white, nine are African-American, and three are Latino.

Attea said he expects that some of the best candidates will apply in December to lessen the possibility of having their names leak out, which could create problems at their current jobs.


Michael O’Neill, the School Committee chairman, said he expected the search to yield a top-notch slate of candidates.

“We are a shining star to a lot of people,” he said of the school system.

Ayele Shakur, chairwoman of the education committee of the Boston branch of the NAACP, urged the search panel to keep the public dialogue going. She said “there is a tone of distrust and concern about a lack of transparency around the superintendent search” in the community.

She said the search committee could build confidence in the process by appointing one or two community advocates or parents to the group. She also presented the committee with a statement that called for adding a student representative to the panel. Currently there are two parents on the 12-member committee.

James Vaznis can be reached at jvaznis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.