COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus City Schools is one step closer to selecting its next superintendent.

After meeting in executive session for more than six hours, the district board of education announced Monday it selected six semi-finalists for the district’s top administrator.

The semi-finalists are:

  • Dr. Thomas Ahart from Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dr. Angela Chapman, current CCS interim superintendent
  • Dr. Jermaine Dawson from Birmingham, Alabama
  • Dr. Stephanie Jones from Chicago
  • Dr. Brian McDonald from Pasadena, California
  • Dr. George (Eric) Thomas from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Biographies and photos of the semi-finalists will be posted on the district’s website.

The school board said it received 31 applications for the position.

Interviews with the semi-finalists will take place on May 2 and 4, with a “Day in the District” scheduled for the finalists on May 11. As part of the May 11 visit, the finalists will take place in a live-streamed candidates forum where the community can hear from the finalists in a moderated question-and-answer format. Final interviews will then be held the week of May 15.

Also on Monday, the board released the results of input from the community about the qualities it would like to see in a new district superintendent.

According to the board’s statement, those qualities are:

  1. Willing to listen to input but is a decision-maker.
  2. Has a strong moral compass and has successful experience in the selection and implementation of educational priorities consistent with the interests and needs of students, staff, Board, and community.
  3. Is strongly committed to a “student-centered” philosophy in all decisions.
  4. Possesses the ability to enhance student performance, especially in identifying and closing or narrowing the gaps in student achievement and opportunity.
  5. Promotes a positive and professional environment that includes mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, administrators, and Board.

Before Monday’s finalists’ announcement, the board said it would use the report to help choose the finalists.

In March, the board approved spending $250,000 to contract with search firm Ray and Associates and Columbus-based communications agency Fahlgren Mortine. The district created a website for the superintendent search shortly after approving the contracts.

Columbus City Schools has been under the direction of Chapman after Talisa Dixon announced her retirement in December, a few months after signing a three-year contract.

The end of Dixon’s tenure was marked by the Columbus Education Association’s first strike in nearly a half century. The three-day strike, which ran into the first days of the school year, was in response to months of failed contract negotiations and complaints over building and working conditions, including outdated HVAC systems, large class sizes, and teacher salaries.

In April, nearly 300 district building substitutes joined the teachers’ union, advocating for better communication from the administration and more respect. The board voluntarily recognized the union.