- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minneapolis School Board will interview two finalists Tuesday in the protracted hunt for the district’s next superintendent. The hopefuls include Minnesota’s education commissioner and a superintendent of schools from Alaska.

An 11-member selection committee on Friday night named Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Ed Graff, a Minnesota native who’s the superintendent of schools in Anchorage, as the finalists. The committee interviewed five semifinalists from a pool of about 20 candidates last week.

After school visits and a round of public comment, the board will meet May 27 to vote on filling a post that’s been vacant since Bernadeia Johnson resigned in December 2014. The job pays $190,000 a year.

Cassellius was superintendent of the East Metro Integration District, serving St. Paul and several suburban districts, when Gov. Mark Dayton appointed her education commissioner in 2010. She previously was an associate superintendent in Minneapolis, where she lives with her two children who are students in the district.

Graff has been the Anchorage superintendent for three years. The district’s school board decided not to renew Graff’s contract in October, citing a need to meet aggressive academic goals. His contract expired in March but was extended through June while the district searched for a new leader. Graff has worked in Anchorage schools since 1991. He was named a superintendent finalist last month in the St. Michael-Albertville school district west of Minneapolis, but did not get the job.

This is the second time in six months that the board has been given a slate of finalists for the job. Over the winter, interim superintendent Michael Goar removed himself from consideration, citing division within the community and the board. That was after the board cut off talks with top candidate Sergio Paez in January, following allegations that special-needs students had been abused at a school in Paez’s former district in Massachusetts. Goar agreed to stay on as interim until the position has been filled.

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