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Superintendent finalists break silence about controversy plaguing BOE selection process

Published: Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:49 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:55 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Interviews resume this week in the Birmingham City Schools Superintendent search.

Board of Education members narrowed the search down to two finalists: Dr. Regina Thompson and Dr. Lisa Herring, but getting to this point hasn't been easy.

There was a bomb threat during a candidate's interview and days of protests.

Both candidates were asked how they would handle the challenges surrounding the selection process as they transition into superintendent.

Here's how they responded:

"A lot of times we have to constantly research and let them know that we are with them and not against them. As we begin to do that, we become partners more so than working on opposite sides. That's going to be a key component," said Dr. Thompson.

"As superintendent, I will partner with the community and our parents to ensure that we are transparent and what we're doing and that we are here for the students," she continued.

"You have to have the skill set around brokenness and how to heal and lead at the same time because we cannot ignore that," said Dr. Lisa Herring.

"Why is that important?  Because while all of this is happening today there are 24,000, plus children who came to school,  they have one expectation to leave better than they were when they entered," continued Herring.

Richard Franklin President of the American Federation of Teachers has been one of the most vocal opponents of the selection process. He said it's been rushed and says it wasn't transparent.

"These two candidates if done openly could have been still the top two candidates, but we wouldn't know. I think they were put in a bad situation by the school board that they didn't have to be in. I really think it's unfair to every candidate a part of this process," said Franklin.

This week the two final candidates will visit schools, business, community and political leaders.

Once interviews are over community and district employees will weigh in again through a second survey, which will be posted to the district website

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