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DCSS moves forward in search

ALBANY -- Dougherty County School Board member Velvet Riggins was impressed with the candidates vying to be the next superintendent, who interviewed with all seven board members Monday morning.

The interviews were held in executive session from 8 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at the Administration Building, Board Chairman David Maschke said. The meeting was held in a closed-door, executive session because it involved personnel.

"Without saying anything about the candidates, it was very educational on both sides," Riggins said. "We learned some things, and I'm hoping that the candidates learned some things from our system. Some of the candidates had done their research on the system, so they were able to share some things we would be able to look into."

The Dougherty County School System's superintendent position attracted 39 candidates before the application process ended Nov. 24. Eight-year Superintendent Sally Whatley announced her retirement in late August. Whatley will remain on the job until the school board replaces her.

"Today's session went well, and we're looking forward to the sessions next week," said Maschke, who declined to comment on the number of applicants the school board interviewed Monday due to a state law that prohibits providing specific information prior to releasing a list of finalists for a position.

School system Public Information Director R.D. Harter said the school board will interview more applicants at 12:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Once the school board selects a finalist or finalists for the position, a community forum will be held to provide citizens an opportunity to meet and ask the top candidates questions.

Maschke said recently that the school board is hoping to make a selection for Dougherty County's 14th superintendent and have someone in place by February or March.

"The goal is to have the new person on board so they can be involved in the budget process," he said.

The applicants reside in 12 states -- included 22 from Georgia -- and one lives in the United Kingdom. Besides Georgia and the U.K., three applicants live in South Carolina and two hail from Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama. Kansas, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma and California are the other states in which applicants reside.