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St. Louis Public Schools chooses finalists for superintendent

Kelvin Adams, St. Louis Public Schools superintendent
Brian Munoz, Emazing Photography, and Twitter
St. Louis Public Schools superintendent finalists: Nicole Williams — interim SLPS Superintendent, Keisha Scarlett — chief academic officer and assistant superintendent of academics for Seattle Public Schools, and Jermaine Dawson — chief academic and accountability officer for Birmingham City Schools.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. Jan. 23 with more information on the candidates

St. Louis Public Schools officials have narrowed their search for the district’s next superintendent. Three finalists will visit schools and go through the interview process to contend for the job.

One finalist is Nicole Williams, who is currently serving as interim superintendent for the district. Williams was chief of staff to former superintendent Kelvin Adams before moving into the interim position in October. Williams was also deputy superintendent of academics for St. Louis Public Schools from 2011 to 2013 and superintendent of Poughkeepsie City School District in New York between 2013 and 2018.

Finalist Jermaine Dawson is chief academic and accountability officer for Birmingham City Schools in Alabama. He has worked as a teacher and has held school leadership positions in Birmingham, Atlanta, Orlando, Jacksonville and Houston.

The third candidate, Keisha Scarlett, is chief academic officer and assistant superintendent of academics for Seattle Public Schools. Before taking on that role, Scarlett was chief of equity, partnerships and engagement in the district. In 2014, she was named Washington State Middle Level Principal of the Year.

“We are excited to host these three very impressive career educators and introduce them to our community,” Board of Education President Matt Davis said in a press release. “On their visits, they will have opportunities to visit classrooms and meet and interact with students and staff members individually and in small groups.”

On Thursday, the district plans to publish a series of video interviews with each candidate. SLPS did not announce a public forum with the finalists, which stands in contrast with the city’s process for selecting a new police chief.

The board said that it will select a candidate by the end of January and that the successful candidate will start in July.

The next superintendent will replace Adams, who led the district for more than 14 years and retired in December. Adams was one of the longest-serving superintendents in SLPS history. Before that, the district experienced high turnover in the role, with six superintendents in six years, 2003 through 2008.

Kate Grumke covers the environment, climate and agriculture for St. Louis Public Radio and Harvest Public Media.