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Finalists for school superintendent announced

The number of people in the running to be Ashland School District's next superintendent has been narrowed from 13 to three, district officials reported.

The finalists to replace retiring Superintendent Juli Di Chiro are vying for a position that oversees nearly 2,750 students, approximately 300 full-time and part-time teachers, support staff and administrators, and a total budget for 2012-2013 of $43.9 million.

The budgeted salary for the new superintendent is from $120,000 to $135,000, according to Ashland School Board Chairwoman Carol Davis.

One of the finalists, William McCoy, has been the superintendent of Red Bluff Union Elementary School District in California since 2009. He oversees four elementary schools with enrollment of 2,139 students, 250 employees and an annual budget of $15 million, according to the candidate's resume.

Finalist Debra Spring Munk has been the principal of Rockville High School in Maryland since 2005. Her school has 1,280 students and 170 staff members, according to the candidate's resume. She did not state the annual budget.

Finalist Gary Plano, who owns a house in Ashland, has been the superintendent since 2007 of Washington state's Mercer Island School District, which has approximately 4,200 kindergarten through 12th-grade students, a staff of 495 and an annual budget of about $48.5 million, according to the district's website.

The school board announced the names of the three finalists, who were identified through a rigorous application, screening and initial interview process.

The candidates will be visited in their school districts starting today by Davis and board member Jim Westrick.

Davis says she and Westrick will spend a day speaking with each of the candidate's staff and principals, and a school board member for the candidates who are currently a superintendent.

She adds they will also seek out "vocal community members who support and oppose" the candidate's previous efforts.

Others on the board will perform comprehensive reference checks for each of the candidates.

The three finalists will then tour Ashland schools Friday, Feb. 15, and will have lunch at Ashland High School, Ashland Middle School or Walker Elementary School. They will also meet individually with Di Chiro, Director of Fiscal Services Greg Lecuyer and Director of Student Services Samuel Bogdanove.

The next day, four committees composed of community members, parents and staff will have opportunities to interview the candidates. The committees are the Shared Vision Committee, Finance/Budget/Human Resources Committee, Communication/Policy Committee and Instructional Leadership Committee.

The board will conduct final interviews that same day and then vote on Monday, Feb. 18.

The selection will be announced the week of Feb. 25.

For more information on the upcoming selection process, visit www.ashland.k12.or.us.

Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or jeastman@dailytidings.com