May 30, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterSix finalists are being considered for the new position.
The Wyoming Board of Education will interview six finalists this weekend for the job of director of the Wyoming Department of Education.
The post is currently being filled by Wyoming Community College Commission executive director Jim Rose. The director position was created during this year's legislative session, when state lawmakers passed Senate File 104 modifying the duties of Wyoming's Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Superintendent Cindy Hill's request to block the bill was denied in March according to published reports, which state that Hill also is challenging SF104's constitutionality. She is expected to appeal her case to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Narrowing the pool
The search for applicants was conducted by Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the consulting firm that was to operate the search for the new director position.
More than 300 possible candidates were contacted by Ray and Associates earlier this year, with 84 applications selected from that group, including 12 people from Wyoming. The rest came from 45 other states and 13 foreign countries.
The Wyoming State Board of Education narrowed the 84 applications to nine semi-finalists and selected six of those nine for interviews Friday and Saturday.
"(We're looking for someone) who can take what has been a fairly contentious and difficult issue in Wyoming and move forward," state board Chairman Ron Micheli said.
The process was on a very tight timeline --the state board made its final six selections Wednesday afternoon, and the finalists arriving in Cheyenne the following morning.
The State Board of Education will interview semifinalists Friday and Saturday in closed session in Cheyenne. The board has set aside two hours for each interview, starting at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 5:45 p.m. Friday going from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Semifinalists for the WDE director position also will participate in a question-and-answer session with the public this weekend. Stakeholders attending the meetings will be asked to offer their opinion on the applicants; that feedback will be made available to the Board of Education before selecting three candidates to recommend to Gov. Matt Mead.
Mead must appoint a permanent director before Dec. 1 according to Enrolled Act 1.
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