Board votes in secret for superintendent candidate

September 25, 2013 10:13:44 AM



JACKSON -- The announcement of Mississippi's new state superintendent of education could come as early as today. 


Board of Education Vice Chair Hal Gage of Vicksburg said that after interviewing five finalists Tuesday in closed sessions, the seven board members who were present voted unanimously for one candidate and intended to offer that person the job. The board had left open the possibility of follow-up interviews Wednesday, but decided it didn't need them. 


"Once we interviewed everyone, it was a little bit easier than I thought it was going to be," Gage said. 


Gage would not identify the candidate, continuing the secrecy that has dominated the search. Attorney General Mike Moore interpreted state law in 1989 to say that votes may be taken in private as long as results are recorded in the board's minutes and published within 30 days. 


One of the finalists interviewed Tuesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center's student center is current Clinton Superintendent Phil Burchfield. He declined comment to The Associated Press. The other four finalists included three men and one woman. At least some of them are from outside Mississippi. 


Two board members, board Chair Wayne Gann of Corinth and member Richard Morrison of Brandon were not present and did not vote, Gage said.