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Catawba County Schools' search for a superintendent is another step closer to finding a new leader.
Monday was the North Carolina School Board Association's application deadline for the position. Allison Schafer, legal counsel and policy director for NCSBA, said the number of applications received is above the national average.
"We have at least 15 applications," Schafer said, adding the NCSBA staff will have a final number once mailed applications are received and e-mail spam folders are checked. "The national average is about 12 (applications per position)."
Schafer and her staff will present the CCS Board of Education with the applications at the board's Dec. 6 meeting, which is also when new board members David Brittain and Glenn Fulbright will be sworn in.
"We don't screen applicants," Schafer said. "The board is the one that makes those decisions. We do gather background information about the candidates for the board."
Such background information includes newspaper articles, license information, university transcripts and references. The information gathered is part of a packet given to board members during a closed-session meeting.
According to a timeline adopted by the school board, members have until Jan. 4 to choose interviewees. Initial candidate interviews will start Jan. 24.
"The process is going well," Schafer said. "We have a good number of applications. Hopefully, (the school board) will find someone they think will be a good fit."
One way the school board is asked to narrow the field of candidates is through survey results. In October, the NCSBA received results from an employee survey and a community survey. Schafer said the survey results will also be presented to the board Dec. 6.
"We will talk to the board a little bit about the survey and present to the board what the survey is looking for, so they can draft traits (for a new superintendent)," she said.
In the community survey, more than 700 people responded. Schafer said the average number of responses is typically about 250 people.
The first question in the community survey asked how important it was for the new superintendent to be involved in community groups. About 61 percent of 748 responders said it is very important the superintendent communicate with area groups.
The employee survey, which had about 400 respondents with a majority consisting of elementary teachers, had the highest reply to the same question as the community survey. In addition, employees said it's important for the superintendent to communicate well with all races and socioeconomic classes.
CCS Board of Education will meet at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Annex Building. The meeting is open to the public.