IPS board chooses finalists for superintendent after interviews

Indianapolis Public Schools has a short list of finalists for its next superintendent.

The school board met with five semi-finalists Tuesday behind closed doors and chose the final pool of candidates, said board president Michael O’Connor. He declined to release the names or number of finalists, which will be announced in mid-June.

The candidates are “all very attracted to Indianapolis,” he said. “They all want to be part of an urban school system that’s moving in the right direction.”

The board will hold public interviews with finalists June 18, O’Connor said. Community members will have an opportunity to submit questions for candidates to the board. The board aims to fill the post as soon as possible, he said.

The district received 11 applications for the position by the May 17 deadline. Six were from out of state, and five were from Indiana, O’Connor said. “We were pleased with the diversity of the pool of applicants.”

The board vacillated between the desire to have an open process and concerns that releasing names of candidates could have discouraged some people from applying. Ultimately, they chose to keep applicants secret but release the names of finalists.

Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson is the only applicant for the job who was known publicly, but a district spokeswoman declined to say whether she is still in the pool. Johnson, who has led the district since January, announced last month that she applied for the post permanently.

The next superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools will oversee the state’s largest district, which educates about 31,000 students. The last chief made nearly $300,000 per year including perks when he left, and Johnson is currently paid $222,380.