Emails suggest Columbus superintendent vetting process not so transparent

From The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Board of Education has not only been interviewing a secret list of candidates to become the next district superintendent, but it has added names not on the list of 19 applicants it released in December.

The board also has been allowing a consultant to keep documents to avoid the Ohio Public Records Act and has been making official board decisions in potentially illegal private meetings, district emails — released to The Dispatch under a records request — reveal.

After promising a transparent process, the board scheduled interviews for seven potential superintendent candidates that occurred between Jan. 8-10. According to emails, they included: current Acting Superintendent John Stanford; former district deputy superintendent Keith Bell, who later took a post in suburban Cleveland; Errick Greene, chief of schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and David James, superintendent of Akron City Schools.

But the board also held get-togethers with three candidates whom the district did not name when it released the list of applicants in December. The board called those “meetings” rather than “interviews,” the term they used for the four candidates who actually applied.

The district released applications from new candidates, some with dates before the Dec. 8 deadline but who weren’t on the list of candidates that the board released Dec. 11. New applicants include: Robert Haworth, superintendent of Elkhart Community Schools in Indiana; Michael Conran, superintendent of Global Education Excellence in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Corwin Robinson, principal of St. Tammany Parish Schools in Mandeville, Louisiana; and Jesse Pratt, academic improvement officer for Indianapolis Public Schools.

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