The Berkeley school board has chosen Edmond Heatley of Georgia as the sole finalist for superintendent job that's being vacated by departing superintendent Bill Huyett.
Huyett announced his retirement last December and the board had hoped to appoint a new superintendent by June but school board president John Selawsky said the search is taking longer than expected.
Assistant superintendent Neil Smith and deputy superintendent Javetta Cleveland are serving as co-interim superintendents until the post is filled.
Although Heatley is the sole finalist for the job, the school board hasn't yet approved a contract with him.
On Thursday, a Berkeley Unified School District team headed by school board member Karen Hemphill traveled to the Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia, the school district near Atlanta where Heatley is superintendent.
The visit will consist of interviews with school board members, parents, teachers, staff, district administrators, union leadership, and community leaders.
Selawsky said the site visit is the final step of an extensive vetting process to verify Heatley's credentials and is being conducted in addition to the required background checks.
He said once the due diligence is completed, the Berkeley school board will be in a position to formally offer Heatley an employment contract.
That decision is expected to come before the school board in late September, possibly at the Sept. 19 meeting, Selawsky said. If a contract is approved at that time, the new superintendent would begin work in October, he said.
Heatley said in a statement, "I am excited about the opportunity to join a high-achieving team focused on ensuring that every student has the opportunity to achieve greatness."
He said, "I believe in a fair break for every child and that all students can learn. It is great to see that the Berkeley community feels the same way."
Berkeley officials said that under Heatley's leadership, the number of students in Clayton County failing to meet expectations on Georgia's standardized exams has declined across all racial and ethnic categories, particularly among black and Latino students.
They said Heatley has also spearheaded efforts that have improved graduation rates and college and career readiness.
Heatley was a site administrator, an assistant superintendent, an associate superintendent and a superintendent at school districts in California before he joined the Clayton County Public Schools.
He retired as a decorated Marine officer after serving on active duty from 1983 to 1996 and a member of the Marine Corps Reserves from 1996 to 2004. Heatley is married and has three children.