Candidates for the next Baltimore schools superintendent seat have reached the vetting stage, city school board officials said Thursday, and the search for the news schools chief is still on schedule to be completed by spring.
Shanaysha Sauls, chair of the city school board, said there were an "encouraging field of applicants."
She said they "feel good" about the number of applicants, but declined to say how many there were.
“Our progress, assets and opportunities in Baltimore have made this an attractive position," she said. “We feel good about the quality, the range, and the pool.”
The application deadline was Jan. 8, and according to a tentative schedule put out by the board last fall, finalists will be interviewed in February/March.
All signs point to the fact that the board will not break away from tradition in keeping the search process closed.
"Right now our candidates have requested confidentiality, and we’re going to honor that,” Sauls said.
The search firm held a series of public forums throughout the city in October, and the public was also invited to weigh in on what they'd like to see in the next schools chief through a survey.
“The board appreciates the input and support we have received from our stakeholders," she said. "We are on track to meet our goal of this spring.”
When asked about the city's search for a new city schools superintendent earlier this week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the process must remain "confidential" to ensure the city attracts the best candidate possible, but that she has been "encouraged" by candidate interest.
To date, she said she has been "incredibly impressed by the talent of the people who are interested" in the position.
Rawlings-Blake said she "had a sense" early on that Baltimore would be "an attractive place for top talent" because of progress made in the school system in recent years and because of funding the system recently secured for new school facilities.
"We are not a broken school system," she said. "We are on the cusp of even greater things."
Baltimore Sun Reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this article.