By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford School Board selected five people to interview from more a pool of over 10 who applied to be Oxford’s next superintendent. Three of the candidates are current administrators for Oxford Community Schools, and the other two are from outside the district.
The internal applicants are Ken Weaver, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction; Jill Lemond, assistant superintendent of student services; and David Pass, assistant superintendent of human resources.
The external applicants are John Bernia, chief academic officer for Warren Consolidated Schools; and Todd Bidlack, assistant superintendent of learning services for Bloomfield Hills Schools.
The board met in closed session Jan. 20 to review all the applicants. They returned to open session to discuss and vote on the candidates.
The five semifinalists were approved in a 6-1 vote. Trustee Erick Foster voted against the list of candidates because he thinks one of them has much less experience than the others. “The experiences of the other candidates just far outweigh the experience of this person,” he said.
Although they were in open session, the board referred to each candidate by a designated letter to protect their identities until they were officially voted on.
The board also selected 23 interview questions, including three opening questions and 3-4 questions across the categories of district relations, political awareness, leadership attributes, instruction and curriculum, finances, and staff and personnel.
The first-round interviews will begin next week, Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. The board will conduct the interviews in public at Oxford Middle School. Each interview will be about an hour and a half, so there will be no more than two interviews per night.
Interviews will begin at 6:30 p.m. and approximately 8:10, with a 10 minute break between.
Members of the public who attend the interviews will have an opportunity to submit feedback forms on each candidate.
The board will meet again Thursday, Feb. 3, to decide which candidates will proceed to second-round interviews. Boards typically select two candidates to advance at this stage according to John Silveri of the Michigan Leadership Institute, who is advising the board through the process.
Second-round interviews will be conducted Feb. 16 and 17. A subcommittee of board members will visit the finalists at their workplaces the week of Feb. 21. The board will then vote to select a new superintendent and extend a job offer March 4, followed by a negotiation period. A vote to officially hire is tentatively scheduled for March 14. The new superintendent could start as soon as March 28.