Hunter a finalist for Detroit schools job Hunter is one of five being considered for superintendent.

February 28, 1991|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff

Baltimore School Superintendent Richard C. Hunter is one of five finalists for the job of Detroit school superintendent, a Detroit search committee announced this week.

A final decision is expected by the first week of April, according to Michele Edwards, spokeswoman for the Detroit Board of Education.

The current Detroit superintendent, John Porter, is due to leave by June 1.

Meanwhile, a selection committee in Baltimore continued its search for a replacement for Hunter, who is due to leave when his three-year contract expires July 31.

In December, Mayor Kurt Schmoke decided not to offer Hunter a new contract, capping months of mounting mayoral dissatisfaction with the superintendent.

Hunter said then that he intended to serve out his term in Baltimore, and would likely return to a teaching post at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Hunter was out of the office yesterday and unavailable for comment.

But a spokesman for the superintendent said Hunter let his name be submitted to the Detroit search committee only after someone in Detroit mentioned him to a private search firm.

"He was nominated for this position; he didn't seek it, they sought him," said Douglas J. Neilson.

He added that Hunter had been approached to apply for several other school superintendent jobs, but declined to pursue those offers.

The superintendent has not said what he would do if offered the Detroit job, according to Neilson.

In Detroit, Hunter was picked as one of nine semifinalists out of a field of 35 applicants. He was interviewed in Chicago several weeks ago by members of a search committee, who then selected five finalists.

"Obviously, they liked him -- he made the cut," said Edwards.

She said the Detroit search committee had done a full background check on Hunter, and was aware of his status in Baltimore.

The Detroit situation should have no effect on the search for a new Baltimore superintendent, said Doris M. Johnson, the Baltimore school board member who is chairwoman of the local search committee.

TC She said that Hunter "made a commitment to us that he would stay until the end of his contract and be the superintendent until that time."

The search committee, which closed the application period Monday, has received scores of applicants for the Baltimore job.

Many of those applicants are superintendents or other educational administrators, said Johnson. Schmoke has said that he would welcome a superintendent who comes from outside the education establishment.

Johnson said the search committee plans to interview candidates in March and April, and choose a new superintendent by May 15.

"We're still committed to Aug. 1, to have a person in place, oriented and ready to move the schools forward," said Johnson.

Baltimore is one of nine big-city school systems looking for new superintendents, according to the Council of the Great City Schools.

The others are: Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Houston; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington.

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