BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's top public school board will hire an outside search firm to help screen candidates to be the state's next education superintendent, outlining an application process Tuesday that will include public interviews for the top handful of contenders.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education didn't immediately identify the company it will use to vet candidates to fill the job being vacated in mid-March by longtime Superintendent of Education John White.
Education board member Kira Orange Jones, who is leading the superintendent nominating and screening committee, detailed plans to hold "an open application process" that the committee intends will identify three to five finalists for interviews.
The board hopes to hire a new superintendent within months.
Louisiana's education superintendent oversees and sets policies governing more than 700,000 public school students across the state. White has been in the position since 2012. His resignation is effective March 11. It will take a two-thirds vote of the 11-member education board to appoint a replacement.
Mike Faulk, with the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said the group wants a person who has experience as superintendent of a local school district - a criticism that had been levied against White, who had never served in such a role.
The search process is different from prior years, when governors had a heavy hand in the choice of superintendent.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said he'll talk to board members about the superintendent's job, though he hasn't publicly recommended a candidate for the position.
But the Democratic governor's influence in the decision-making will be limited. Edwards has three appointments to the education board. The remaining eight elected members could choose a superintendent and reach the two-thirds vote without needing support from Edwards' appointees.