by Ivan Foley and Alan McArthur
The list of possibilities to replace Dr. Mark Harpst as Platte County R-3 superintendent has been narrowed considerably--apparently down to five applicants.
In a series of three closed meetings held Thursday, Friday and Sunday, the Platte County R-3 Board of Education interviewed five of the 18 people who applied for the position to be vacated by Harpst at the end of June.
Tina Zubeck, who is the secretary for the board of education and also performs public relations duties for the school district, told The Landmark in a telephone conversation Tuesday the board interviewed five applicants but is “still leaving all 18 as options” to fill the post.
Though Zubeck said all 18 remain “options,” the fact the board has called in only five for a personal question-and-answer session indicates members have narrowed the search to a targeted list.
Zubeck said the search could be a topic for an executive session scheduled at the board’s regular monthly meeting this Thursday, but that no other special meetings are scheduled at this time.
Bob Shaw, school board president, said he anticipates a December hiring, which would take place at the board’s regular meeting next month.
“We are working through the process,” said Shaw. “We have got a lot of work to do.
“Our goal is to announce (the new superintendent) at the Dec. 18 meeting,” said Shaw. “We may or may not make the deadline. I expect at that meeting we would approve a contract.”
There could also be a round of second interviews, according to Shaw. The district has four weeks from Thursday before the December meeting.
Much speculation in education circles is that one of the leading candidates for the job is Dr. Mike Reik, a current assistant superintendent at R-3.
The district has said it is conducting a nationwide search for the new superintendent. Harpst has been the district's superintendent since 1996.
Harpst earns nearly $165,000 in annual salary from the district.