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MICHAEL ROKNICK | Herald

The Brookfield Board of Education couldn't agree on a single, clear candidate for superintendent from among 26 applications, so now they're going to change course and consider two in-house candidates – the high school and middle school principals,

BROOKFIELD – The Brookfield Board of Education made an announcement Wednesday about its search for a new superintendent.

But it wasn’t the statement most residents expected.

“After a somewhat exhaustive and lengthy search, with 26 candidates applying, and narrowing that down to four who were interviewed, and two who did presentations to the board, a candidate acceptable to the entire board that the board felt would fit well into the community could not be found,’’ Ronda Bonekovic, board president, said as she read from a prepared statement at the board’s regular meeting.

“We have therefore decided to open up the interview process to two well-respected, in-house candidates to consider for the next superintendent of the Brookfield Local School District,’’ she said.

About 75 district students, parents, teachers and residents attended the board meeting, when district officials were expected to name a new superintendent to replace Velina Jo Taylor, who has taken the superintendent position at Lakeview Local School District near Cortland.

After the meeting, Bonekovic identified the candidates, Brookfield High School Principal Adam Lewis and middle school Principal William “Toby’’ Gibson. Both men had applied for the job but weren’t included on the short list.

Last week, board members had been saying they wanted to name a new superintendent at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Bonekovic did not call for any vote on the two candidates. Instead, she said the board couldn’t agree on either finalist and that a split board vote could cause an overwhelming obstacle for an incoming superintendent.

“Would there be a superintendent to come in on a 3-2 vote?’’ she asked.

Board members said residents have expressed concern about the district’s decision not to choose a superintendent from among the district’s administrative staff.

Bonekovic said the selection process has been stressful on the board. The board’s next scheduled meeting is set for June 26, but she said the board could call a special meeting to name the new superintendent.

“There’s a lot of passion out there,’’ she said. “I don’t think people know how difficult this is for us.’’