PITTSFIELD -- Six candidates are in the running for the city's next school superintendent.
The Superintendent Screening Committee has selected six semifinalists who will be invited for interviews next week. The ad hoc panel's selections came from a pool of 18 candidates during a closed-door session on Tuesday night.
"We didn't have a set number of candidates to choose," said committee chairwoman Kathleen A. Amuso. "I think these six are the ones we really want to interview."
The nine-member committee will also meet in executive session on Jan. 16 and 17 and interview three superintendent hopefuls each night.
Under the state's open meeting law, only the finalists' names are made public. Finalists will be questioned in an open session of the Pittsfield School Committee. The screening committee plans to submit a list of at least three finalists to the School Committee on Jan. 23.
Amuso said her group has a strong field of candidates from which to choose. At least one is a finalist for another school superintendent's position.
"The [screening] committee is very pleased with the applicants we have this time," she said. "It's early in the year, so people looking to be a superintendent are the cream of the crop."
Pittsfield's initial superintendent search was conducted last spring, well after nearly 45 school districts in Massachusetts were in the midst of or had completed their own searches.
The school committee has spent about a year searching for a successor to Howard "Jake" Eberwein III, who announced his resignation early last January and departed the school system on June 30 to take a job with Massachusetts College.
Gordon Noseworthy was hired in June as interim superintendent for a year, after a prior superintendent search that produced only nine candidates. In May, the School Committee decided against hiring a finalist submitted by a previous search committee.
The School Committee has since hired Future Management Systems of Beverly, a consultant firm costing $22,000, to assist in the latest search.
The school board has agreed to offer a salary range of $150,000 to $170,000 for the post, which is $25,000 to $45,000 more than Eberwein was earning.
However, Eberwein did not accept a pay raise above his $125,000 salary during his four years as superintendent.
Eberwein's successor will oversee Berkshire County's largest school district -- 6,161 students as of Oct. 1 -- and third-largest employer with nearly 1,200 teachers, administrators and support staff.
To reach Dick Lindsay: email@example.com, or (413) 496-6233.