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School Board members will conduct interviews with some superintendent applicants next month, with semifinalists determined in mid-December.

The Madison Metropolitan School District received 31 applications for its next superintendent.

The deadline for applications was Sunday at midnight. Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes revealed that number at Monday night's board meeting, saying 10 of the applicants have been superintendents previously and "many" others have been assistant superintendents.

"We have gotten a good result, a good group of people," Reyes said.

Consultant BWP and Associates will go over the candidates with the board during a closed session on Dec. 4 or 10, Reyes said. The first set of interviews with School Board members are expected later in the month with semifinalists chosen from those interviews. Visits to the district and more interviews are expected in January, with a new hire in February.

Names are not expected to be made public until the finalist stage. Finalists are subject to public records laws.

The last time the district had a superintendent search, 65 applied for the position. That field was narrowed to seven semifinalists and eventually Jennifer Cheatham was hired.

The job opened when Cheatham left the district this year after five years in the position. Jane Belmore is serving in an interim role this school year, just as she did the year before Cheatham arrived.

The search process included some local input opportunities, with two public meetings, a survey and various closed meetings between BWP and various groups or individuals.

School Board members adopted a “leadership profile” based on that feedback earlier this month. BWP reported the input indicated the community wants a visionary team-builder with experience with diverse populations and an understanding of the district’s commitment to high levels of academic achievement for all students. An educator’s background, student-centered, dedicated, sincere and honest person were also desired, according to the BWP report.

BWP’s Debra Hill told the board Nov. 11 the district would need to make itself stand out in the “small pool” of candidates who would fit the profile, especially to find someone who has experience in a district of Madison’s size or larger.

“Lots of districts are looking for the same people,” Hill said. “The competition is much higher at this particular point.”

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