Enquirer Herald

York schools down to 3 for top post

YORK -- The York school district might select a superintendent by mid May, said school board chairman Chris Revels.

"That's my goal," Revels said.

The board has narrowed an applicant pool of 27 to three candidates for the district's top post. Three of the candidates didn't meet the qualifications specified for the position and were weeded out at the beginning of the process, according to James Jennings, the consultant the district hired to help with the search. Jennings previously served as interim superintendent with the district before outgoing Superintendent Russell Booker was hired, and helped the district find and hire Booker.

One of the finalists will be chosen to replace Booker who has announced that he has taken a job as associate superintendent in Spartanburg School District 7. Booker's last day in York will be June 30.

The finalists are: Agnes Slayman, Kershaw County schools assistant superintendent for curriculum; Vernon Prosser, principal at Broome High School in Spartanburg; and Harrison Goodwin, Spartanburg School District 1 coordinator of operations.

Prosser had served in the Spartanburg District 1 office as director of personnel and director of facilities before taking the principal position at Broome High, Jennings said.

The three finalists will go through several more rounds of interviews with school board members before a decision is made, likely in May.

"You take every opportunity you can to sit down with those folks," Revels said. "It's like a marriage. You want to make sure it's the right fit."

The board decided in February not to spend money on a nationwide search. Instead, the school district hired Jennings to manage a smaller-scale search, which attracted candidates mostly from South Carolina.

"We had a lot more resumes to go through this time than last time," Revels said recalling the last superintendent search that ended with the hiring of Booker. "I think the word has finally gotten out, how superior a district York is. We had a candidate from as far away as Vermont in the north."

While sorry to see Booker leave, Revels said making sure his replacement is the "right fit" for the community is the most important part of the search.

"When you start looking at qualifications, whether it's more operational or instructional, the superintendent needs to be well-rounded," Revels said. "Being a good fit with the community is as important as the number of degrees they have.

"We don't want it to be a knee-jerk reaction."

Narrowing the field to three was difficult Revels said, because there were so many qualified candidates to choose from. After several meetings the board had narrowed the field from 24 to eight, and then to the final three.

The finalists' first round of interviews began this week, another round will follow next week, Revels said.