SALEM — The search for the school district's next superintendent is hitting its final week, with one more round of interviews and a vote scheduled for Thursday night.
The School Committee is holding three final meetings on the superintendent search, with two days of committee-run interviews on Monday, Feb. 10 and Wednesday, Feb. 12. Each meeting will feature two candidates, each with an hour and a half scheduled for questions from the committee, according to agendas for the meetings that appeared online this past week.
Then, a special meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 13, to "deliberate and vote on the final selection of the Superintendent of Schools effective July 1, 2020."
The final candidate is expected to replace interim Superintendent Kathleen Smith, who replaced Margarita Ruiz, who led the district for half a decade before parting ways after criticism of over her handling of high school leadership.
The search for 2020 yielded 31 applications, which the Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston narrowed down to nine candidates for interviews. Those interviews, conducted the final week of January, led the district to four finalists. Those four finalists each spent a day in Salem from Monday, Feb. 3, to Thursday, Feb. 6. Each visit ended with a one-hour forum at Saltonstall School, where parents and community members engaged with the finalists and asked questions in a public setting.
The process will end with one more round of interviews ahead of a vote by the seven-member School Committee. The schedule runs as follows:
Monday, Feb. 10: Erin McMahon, 6 p.m.; Lourenco Garcia, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12: Ben Lummis, 6 p.m.; Stephen Zrike, 7:30 p.m.
Both events will be held in the School Committee's chambers at Collins Middle School, 29 Highland Ave. The final vote will also be held in the committee's chambers, with a start time of 5:30 p.m.