The Baltimore school board announced last night a new list of five finalists for school superintendent that includes Maryland's former schools chief, a former Montgomery County school superintendent and high-level administrators from the District of Columbia, Baltimore and Baltimore County.
The announcement appears to signal an end to a tortuous process that began in December and was originally expected to conclude last month. Though board members still refuse to set a new deadline, they hope to choose a replacement for Superintendent Richard C. Hunter by the first week of July.
Dr. Hunter's three-year contract will expire July 31.
The finalists were announced after board members called Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to notify him of their choices. "The mayor told us that he felt comfortable with our decision," said Stelios Spiliadis, board vice president and head of the search.
The finalists, who will go on to be interviewed by Mr. Schmoke, community groups and school unions, include only two from a short list of five candidates the board selected in April.
Board members discarded that list after Mr. Schmoke -- who had signed off on it -- decided that the process should be broadened.
The sole new candidate is David W. Hornbeck, Maryland's former schools chief and a nationally known education consultant, who agreed to be interviewed at Mr. Schmoke's request earlier this month.
In addition to Mr. Hornbeck, the finalists are:
* Walter G. Amprey, an associate superintendent in Baltimore County.
* Charles M. Bernardo, a Florida businessman who was Montgomery County's school superintendent in the late 1970s.
* Patsy Baker Blackshear, an associate superintendent for the city schools and a former Anne Arundel County school board member.
* Lillian Gonzalez, assistant superintendent in the District of Columbia school system.
Of the five finalists, only two are black: Mr. Amprey and Ms. Blackshear. Although Baltimore has had a black superintendent for more than a decade, Mr. Schmoke has said that race is not a controlling factor for the majority-black city schools.
The new list includes one person from inside the city school system -- Ms. Blackshear. A group of city lawmakers had complained about the lack of inside candidates on the previous list.
Mr. Spiliadis said the board has not yet decided on the details of the finalists' interviews with community and union groups. But he said they could take place as early as June 22.
Board members had already spent hours interviewing nine candidates who emerged after renewed discussions among themselves and with Mr. Schmoke. In addition to the five finalists, they interviewed Baltimore school administrators Leonard D. Wheeler, Samuel L. Banks and Chester F. Preyar. They also interviewed former Cleveland schools chief Alfred Tutela.