The nationwide search for a new director of one of Medford's largest nonprofit agencies has been narrowed to three finalists.

The nationwide search for a new director of one of Medford's largest nonprofit agencies has been narrowed to three finalists.

The Community Works board will interview finalists from Salem, Yonkers, N.Y., and St. Paul, Minn., in the next few weeks, with a final decision expected in November.

"We ended up with some really good candidates," said Mike Mastroni, board chairman. "We've been searching since the end of July."

The agency operates Dunn House, a women's shelter, CrossRoads School, a destination for many of Jackson County's expelled and troubled secondary pupils, and several other auxiliary programs.

Daniel C. Murphy, Clifford Schneider and Daniel H. Hoxworth were selected from 42 initial respondents who were culled down to 11 semi-finalists in phone interviews, said Elisabeth Zinser, board vice-chairwoman.

Murphy, of Salem, has been the director of the Marion County Children and Families Commission and Department. His organization received a National Association of Counties award for excellence in fostering community planning. Murphy was named Marion County's Humanitarian of the Year and Salem Leadership Foundation's Government Leader of the Year.

Schneider, of Yonkers, has been the executive director of St. Paul's Community Development Corporation in New Jersey. He managed $2.5 million in the program's operations department and another $2.5 million in an affordable housing project in New York. The SPCDC provides welfare-to-work services, housing and neighborhood development, a men's shelter, food pantry and HIV/AIDS outreach services.

Hoxworth was president of the Neighborhood House in St. Paul, Minn., for 10 years. The multicultural, multilingual community center often serves as a first stop for immigrants and refugees in St. Paul. Under Hoxworth's leadership, the center grew from a $1.5 million annual budget to $5 million and raised $27.5 million for a new facility.

Mastroni said the board is searching for the candidate who shows strong leadership and has a "vision in mind for the future of Community Works."

"How can we serve our clients more efficiently? How can we serve more clients?" said Mastroni.

"We're also looking for a leader to help in our development in charitable giving," he added.

Each of the three candidates will participate in a final meeting that will include input from other Jackson County nonprofit leaders, Zinser said.

The successful candidate will replace Arnie Green, who officially retires Sept. 30. Green led the creation of Community Works in 1996, almost 20 years after he started work at Star Gulch Ranch, a youth residential treatment center in the Applegate Valley. Community Works now operates 16 programs.

Sandy Dowling, a bed-and-breakfast owner with more than 25 years' experience in the nonprofit sector, will serve as interim president and chief executive officer.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.