The final two candidates for superintendent of Meridian Public Schools went through the interview process Tuesday night in a public setting at Meridian High School.
Harrison Central principal, Dr. Tori Holloway, and Tupelo assistant superintendent, Dr. Fred Hill, answered questions Tuesday. Jackson Public Schools administrator, Dr. Rosie Payton, took her turn last week.
One by one the candidates answered questions and made a strong push for why they should be the head of the district.
"The role of the superintendent is the day to day administration of the school system itself," said Dr. Hill.
"I don't mind making the tough decisions, because we have to do what is best for the children," said Dr. Holloway.
The open process was a first for the district and one of the first for the state. Meridian residents were able to submit questions that were asked by school board members. They could hear the candidates give their answers, and later, those in attendance could hand in a written review of the candidates.
"We are very pleased that we did it this way," said Dr. Don Evans, school board president. "The reason we are is that we gave everyone the opportunity to be there. We can't force everybody, but we gave them the opportunity. We do want community involvement and it will be up to our leader to go out and generate this community involvement."
The issue of community involvement is one that Dr. Evans says the board is taking very seriously when making its decision. They want a person who can lead and inspire.
"We feel like the educational system in Meridian is the community's," said Evans. "And we wanted as much community involvement as we could get in the decision making process. And then as a board we will make a decision on the new superintendent for our school district."
Dr. Evans says he is pleased with the three candidates and is eager to see where the other board members stand.
The school board will meet Thursday to discuss the candidates and will make an announcement of their choice Monday, June 28.