COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — After another marathon executive session, the Columbus City Schools Board of Education has selected its finalists for superintendent.

About three days after narrowing the choice to six semi-finalists, on Thursday night the board named three as the last standing candidates for the district’s highest position.

The finalists are:

  • Angela Chapman, interim superintendent of Columbus City Schools
  • Brian McDonald, superintendent of Pasadena Unified School District
  • George “Eric” Thomas, former administrator at Cincinnati Public Schools and current associate superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools

The selection followed two days of interviews and comes as the finalists are scheduled to visit Columbus on May 11 for a “Day in the District.” The candidates will participate in a live-streamed forum and speak in a moderated question-and-answer format. Final interviews will begin May 15.

NBC4 has requested the application materials of the six semi-finalists. The district and its hired counsel, Taft Law, declined to hand over the records. 

The district told NBC4 that Taft Law possessed the application materials. A representative from Taft Law said in an email that the records are in the possession of search firm Ray & Associates, which the district hired in March to identify candidates, and that “the details of the applicants and their materials are confidential under attorney/client privilege.”

Ray & Associates has not returned a request for the records.

Months after signing another three-year contract, Dixon announced her retirement from the district, effective June 30. In her nearly four years at the helm of Ohio’s largest school district, Dixon faced several leadership tests, including COVID-19 building closures and rapid implementation of remote learning.

The final months of Dixon’s superintendent career were tense, as five months of failed contract negotiations between the school board and teacher’s union led to the district’s first strike in almost 50 years. The three-day strike, which ran into the first days of the school year, came after repeated calls for improvement to working conditions, staff salaries and HVAC systems.

School Board President Jennifer Adair previously told NBC4 that “there was no pressure from the board” for Dixon to leave and that it was a “mutually agreed upon thing.”

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.