At its meeting Thursday night, the school board approved a motion to discuss, consider and interview candidates for the division's superintendent "at one or more undisclosed locations" between April 5 and 19.
Outgoing Superintendent Jack Dale announced in 2011 his plans to retire June 30 of this year.
Last fall, the board selected Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates — the same consulting firm that found Dale in 2004 — to lead the current search process.
While the board has focused more on community engagement in this search than in the one it used to hire Dale, it decided to keep the interview process itself closed, with the exception of an 18-member stakeholder committee comprised of parents, staff, teachers and students that has held interviews with semifinalists.
The decision was made largely to protect the identity of the candidates not selected for the position, whose jobs could be compromised if their participation in the search gets back to their home districts, board members said.
The number of candidates at this point is not being disclosed, schools spokesman John Torre told Patch this week.
The board held its first round of interviews in late March, and conducted semifinalist interviews this week.
Last month, school board chair Ilryong Moon told Patch the board hoped to narrow the pool down to around three candidates by the end of March.
Those chosen will be interviewed a second time, Moon told Patch, and the Board will then choose its preferred candidate.
The interviews cap a four-phase process that began in November with an online survey asking community members what they wanted to see in a new Fairfax schools leader.
The board also scheduled small meetings with community members, parents, students, staff, support staff and administrators, either in open groups or with specific individuals.
Consultants delivered a preliminary report with findings to the board in December; in January, they held community forums to discuss the draft report and themes that emerged from it, which consultants used to begin the recruitment and interview process.
The board is expected to announce its selection by May.
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Patch editor William Callahan reported for this story.