NEWBURYPORT — School Committee members will complete a second round of interviews with the two superintendent finalists next week and are anticipating taking a vote to choose a candidate.

After completing site visits Feb. 28, the School Committee decided Monday evening to invite finalists Anthony Colannino and Sean Gallagher back to Newburyport for a special meeting March 13. This time, the public will be able to ask the finalists questions, with 30 minutes allotted for each candidate.

"The site visits went really, really well for both candidates," said School Committee Vice Chair Bruce Menin. "It's very clear to us that both candidates are passionate educators and are deeply respected in the communities where they've worked."

Committee members traveled to Wilmington to speak with Gallagher’s colleagues and visited Waltham, where Colannino put together a group of people for the committee to meet.

Colannino most recently served as a consultant with Mindset Works Inc. of Walnut, California, where he worked with several school districts across the country. He was an elementary school principal in multiple districts for 11 years while Gallagher spent the majority of his career as a principal at Beverly High School, according to the men's resumes.

The School Committee will interview Colannino from 4 to 4:45 p.m. followed by a question-and-answer session with the public from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. Gallagher will be interviewed by committee members from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., followed by a public question-and-answer block from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.

Committee members first interviewed the two finalists Feb. 13. The set of 10 questions were centered around the district's strategic plan, curriculum, special education program, use of technology, and partnership with community members. The candidates also responded to traditional interview questions, such as what challenges they had to overcome in their careers.

Since then, the School Committee has reviewed feedback from teachers, students, administrators, parents and other community members regarding Colannino and Gallagher.

With two of the four area superintendents retiring at the end of the school year, School Committee members are eager to find a replacement.

Superintendent Susan Viccaro, who has been in her position for five years, announced her retirement to the School Committee last fall. Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen announced in January that he is retiring after holding the position for six years. Both said they would leave their positions in June.

With this in mind, Menin said it's very likely the School Committee may vote next week on which candidate they would like to be the next superintendent of schools.

"I fully expect that we'll be taking a vote on March 13," said Menin, who noted the site visits allowed for greater insight into each candidate.

The interviews will be in Room 118 at Newburyport High School, 241 High St.

For previous coverage on the superintendent search:

Amanda Getchell covers Newburyport and Seabrook. Follow her on Twitter @ajgetch.

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