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School Board on Fast Track to Pick New Chief

Trustees begin interviews this week to narrow a field of seven to three finalists; new superintendent takes over July 1.

This week, the Berkeley school board begins interviewing candidates for superintendent – a position soon to be vacated when schools chief William Huyett retires in June.

“We’re about to hit a critical two-week period,” said president John Selawsky at last night’s meeting of the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education. “The board has a lot of work to do.”

At a closed session meeting May 2, the board made a first cut of seven out of 57 applicants. Three finalists will emerge from a round of interviews, each of whom will then interact with board members over dinner. By month’s end, the trustees will have settled on one candidate, who they will then visit on site. Union and parent groups from each district will confer with one another.

“It’s a lovely chance to see what the superintendent has been able to do in the home district,” said BUSD spokesman Mark Coplan. By the end of the first week in June, a superintendent will be named and by July 1 will start work.

The district serves 9,400 students in 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, one comprehensive high school, and one alternative high school. In addition, it operates three preschools and a popular adult school program.

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