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Why is Richmond taking school superintendent search behind closed doors?

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Public meetings the Richmond School Board said would happen in the days and weeks leading up to choosing the city’s new school superintendent will not happen.

Under state law, the Richmond School Board had 180 days from when Dr. Yvonne Brandon resigned to name her permanent replacement. That deadline is Dec. 27.

After holding several forums over the summer, Richmond School Board Chairman Jeff Bourne said the elected officials have now decided to carry out the rest of their process out of the public’s view.

“We’ve gotta wrestle with these issues as a board and ask the community to be patient,” Bourne said.

He said the decision to exclude the community from the superintendent search, at this point, was due to fears that too much input would hinder the selection process.

“What we don’t want to do is prematurely identify a candidate. That not only impedes our ability to get the right person, but, we also don’t want to damage anybody’s professional reputation or credibility,” Bourne said.

Bourne said the board had narrowed its choices to 10 candidates. He said those candidates would be interviewed and the board planned to make a decision before Christmas.