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FORT SMITH — The Fort Smith School Board will interview five superintendent candidates today and is expected to pare that list to two for final interviews in mid-December.

School officials did not say when the board would make its final choice.

The five candidates are Keith Brown of Bay City, Texas; Doug Brubaker of Mansfield, Texas; Brenda Lewis of Rochester, Minn.; Christiana Otuwa of Rochester, N.Y.; and Michael Roth of Leavenworth, Kan.

The seven board members met with Ray and Associates consultant Bill Newman on Nov. 17 to whittle the list of 11 potential candidates to the five they want to call to Fort Smith for interviews. Board President Deanie Mehl said the interviews will take place at two-hour intervals throughout the day today, interrupted only long enough for the board to hold its regular monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Newman said 66 people sent applications to the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, executive leadership search company that the School Board hired to conduct the search for a replacement for Benny Gooden, who retired June 30 after serving as superintendent for 30 years.

“You had an array of candidates here that don’t fit in a single mold,” Newman said of the finalists. “It’s a diverse pool.”

Board members went into executive session at the Nov. 17 meeting to evaluate the 11 candidates. Newman had them rate the candidates not only on their qualities but also compare the candidates against one another.

The new superintendent will manage a school district with 14,888 students and more than 1,100 staff members. One of the superintendent’s duties will be to take the lead in a campaign next year to pass a millage increase to finance a renovation and construction program that could top $80 million.

Brown has worked as superintendent of the Bay City School District since 2008 and was superintendent of the Thrall School District in Texas from 2004-08.

He was named the 2013 Texas Association of School Boards Superintendent of the Year, according to his resume. His resume also showed that he has served as an athletic director, head football coach and high school principal in multiple Texas districts since 1994.

Brubaker has been the associate superintendent of the Garland, Texas, School District since last year, and was assistant superintendent of administrative systems and support in the Mansfield School District from 2008-14, according to his resume.

Since 1998, he has spent time as director of instructional technology, as well as principal of the intermediate and elementary school, as assistant principal of the elementary school and as a teacher.

Lewis has served as the assistant superintendent in the Rochester public school system in Minnesota since 2013 and was executive director of elementary and secondary education in the district from 2011-13.

She has worked as principal, assistant principal and teacher in public, magnet and Catholic schools since 2000.

Otuwa has worked as the deputy superintendent in the teaching and learning division of the Rochester School District in New York since 2014. Before moving to Rochester, she was assistant superintendent of secondary schools in Pittsburgh from 2007-14.

She also has spent time as a school principal, assistant principal and teacher since 1988.

Roth has served as the Leavenworth school superintendent since 2014. He served as school superintendent in Clearwater, Kan., from 2006-14 and in Deerfield, Kan., from 2001-06.

He also has spent time as an athletic director, head basketball coach, and physical education and health teacher in two school districts since 1993.

Print Headline: School board to interview five for post in Fort Smith

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