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Philadelphia NAACP Voices Concern Over Lack Of Local Superintendent Candidates

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Philadelphia Board of Education is entering the last stages of its search for the next superintendent. All three candidates are in the city this week to make their final pitch to community members.

CBS3 spoke with a parent and member of the advisory committee who helped to whittle down a nationwide list of candidates. But some community members are concerned about who's not on the list.

"I definitely feel the largest learning curve for any of the candidates is going to be learning Philadelphia," advisory committee member David Thomas said.

Thomas is a native Philadelphian, a parent, and a former high school teacher. He's also one of about a dozen members who serve on the Superintendent's Search Advisory Committee, helping to select the next person who will take over the position.

"It was a very transparent open process where we as the Search Advisory Committee just asked questions and gave our feedback," Thomas said.

With the help of the committee and more than 40 public input sessions since last summer, the board has narrowed the search to three finalists: Chief of Baltimore City Schools John Davis Jr., Deputy Education officer in Illinois Krish Mohip, and Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools in North Carolina Tony Watlington Sr.

Superintendent Of Philadelphia Schools Candidate Krish Mohip Will Take Part In Virtual Town Hall Tuesday Night

The three finalists are in town, meeting with students, teachers, parents and staff virtually and in person.

"How will an individual come in and really address some of the largest challenges that the district has faced, challenges around the facilities and just making sure that we can navigate budget constraints," Thomas said when asked what were the biggest questions he has.

The Philadelphia NAACP branch has voiced concern that none of the candidates are from Philadelphia, citing they want someone who's vested in a city that poses its own unique set of educational and community challenges.

"I am a little disappointed that there was not a consideration from Philadelphia. I feel like there was no one who was qualified to lead our school district?" Catherine Hicks with the Philadelphia NAACP branch said.

Search committee members believe the board has chosen the most qualified candidates to fill the superintendency and don't believe residency will hurt or help in the long run.

"There are so many other folks that are from Philadelphia that work here in the district," Thomas said. "We don't necessarily need everyone to be from Philadelphia."

The second candidate, Krish Mohip, has been in meetings with the public all day. He will wrap up with a town hall Tuesday night. The third and final candidate, Tony Watlington from North Carolina, will begin meetings in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

The board hopes to make a decision by next week.

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