Twenty people have applied to become the next Nebraska Commissioner of Education.
An Illinois firm, PROACT Search, conducted a national search for candidates to replace Roger Breed.
Breed retired June 30. He had been commissioner since 2009.
The firm, working for the Nebraska Board of Education, will continue to interview and vet applicants and then present the most qualified candidates to the board's search committee for consideration.
PROACT Search is the same company that conducted the national search that secured Mark Evans of Andover, Kan., as the new superintendent of the Omaha Public Schools.
Recruiters with the search firm contacted more than 150 individuals and organizations to uncover potential candidates. The deadline for applying was Tuesday.
Eva Prokop, PROACT recruiter, said the firm is pleased with the number of applicants, their experience and their leadership. The names of the applicants were not released.
Members of the search committee are expected to narrow the pool of the most qualified applicants to at least four finalists by early December.
The state board members tentatively set Dec. 11 and 12 as dates for public interviews of the finalists by board members.
Board President Pat Timm, in a statement, said the board is pleased with the search process and the number of people interested in the job.
“Hiring the next Commissioner of Education is the single most important job of the State Board of Education," Timm said. "We are confident that this search process will lead to a strong slate of finalists for consideration in early December.”
The commissioner serves as the executive officer of the board and the administrative head of the professional, technical, and clerical staff of the Nebraska Department of Education.
The commissioner implements state education law and the policies and rules of the board.