The Pawhuska Board of Education on Monday evening approved scheduling six superintendent candidate interviews, as recommended by the school district’s search committee.


The board last Thursday voted to establish the committee, consisting of 24 members. The board divided the committee into two, 12-member working groups, each of which was to review application materials submitted for the post of district superintendent. Justin Sellers, president of the Board of Education, said there were 13 applicants.


Copies of application materials were to be distributed to search committee members last Friday with work on the search to begin almost immediately.


During the public comment period Monday, teacher Jon Marie Wilson argued that the Pawhuska School District needs to act expeditiously to do the necessary work to choose a new superintendent. Wilson is a member of the search committee, and was named spokesperson for one of the two working groups.


“Let’s not wait until the very last minute,” Wilson said, recalling that the Pawhuska district has gotten a slow start in recent school years. “Let’s not start off slow again.”


Wilson said the enrollment of Pawhuska Public Schools has declined during the last three to four years by about 80 students, and she lamented it appears the school system has “lost the faith of our community.”


She said the work of the search committee had already determined there are several qualified applicants for superintendent, and she urged everyone to move forward as quickly as reasonable.


In other business Monday related to district leadership, the Board of Education appointed Kristi DeLapp to serve as interim principal of Pawhuska Elementary School from Aug. 1 until the superintendent search is concluded. Byron Cowan, principal of Pawhuska Elementary School, is serving as interim superintendent.


During discussion last Thursday, members of the newly constituted search committee talked with Board of Education members and school administrators about how the process of reviewing superintendent applications, interviewing candidates and inviting stronger candidates back for second interviews might work.


Community member Ladd Drummond encouraged streamlining the process to move as quickly as possible. He suggested that search committee work could begin Friday, that all the initial interviews might be done in a single day if the number of qualified candidates could be whittled down, and that the search process could rather speedily narrow things down to two leading candidates.


Group one of the search committee, as named by the Board of Education, consists of: Scott Laird, Mike Tolson, Lauri Lee, Missy Culver, Carol Kelley, Susan Hall, Lynn Fuller, Cynthia Testerman, Lauren Garnett, Dean Hix and Briana Millard. Group two of the search committee consists of:Justin Sellers, Patricia Counts, Meghan Davis, Jodi Culver, Jon Marie Wilson, Kamree Legg, Jean Simmons, Ladd Drummond, Lauren Stanton, Josh Williams, Amy Sanders and Susan Bayro.


Carol Kelley was named spokesperson for Group one. Jon Marie Wilson was named spokesperson for Group two.