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Troup school board names three finalists for superintendent position

The Troup County School Board named the three finalists for its superintendent position during a special called meeting on Monday night.

The finalists are Larry E. DiChiara, Margaret “Peggy” Aune and Brian T. Shumate. A brief working history was released for each of the finalists.

DiChiara is the current president of SOY Education Associates, a consulting firm in Auburn. He was previously the chief administrative officer and acting superintendent of Selma City Schools in Alabama. In Selma, he was tasked with leading the state takeover into the city school system. He’s also previously served as the superintendent of Phenix City Public Schools, a position he held for 10 years before being placed on administrative leave due to disputes with the school board.

Aune is the associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Collier County Public Schools in Naples, Florida. She has also previously served as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Collier County Public Schools in Naples.

Shumate is the current superintendent of the Medford School District in Medford, Oregon. He has previously been an adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon and assistant superintendent at Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.

“We are very excited about three of these candidates,” said Board Chairman Kirk Hancock. “We had a very exhaustive search that our search firm put us through.”

TCSS has been looking for a new superintendent since Aug. 13, when the board accepted Dr. Cole Pugh’s resignation. The board hired McPherson & Jacobson in September to lead the search.

A total of 52 candidates applied for the position.

“The search firm narrowed it down to 12 candidates. We had short video vignettes that each candidate recorded. We went through their resume, their background and watched the vignettes to get a flavor for each of those candidates. From those 12, we narrowed it down to five and with that we performed video conference interviews with all of those five,” Hancock said. “From there, we narrowed it down to these three. We had great unanimity from the board as to the top three candidates, so that was very encouraging. I think any of the three will be excellent. We’re looking forward to meeting them in person.”

Hancock said each of the finalists will interview in Troup County and get to see the community. He said the “optimum time” to announce the hire would be the Thursday, Feb. 21 board meeting.

Under state law, the board must wait 14 days after naming the finalists to officially name the superintendent. Under state law, the board could not name more than three finalists.

“We had amazing candidates from all over the state and the country, as well as internally. We are so grateful for everyone that applied. It was tough, but I’m very confident we have three fantastic [finalists] to present to the rest of the board and to make a selection.”