The Beaufort County Board of Education meets today to select a new superintendent, following visits this week by some board members to the two finalists' school districts.
The board voted unanimously last week to focus on Jeffrey Moss of Sanford, N.C., and Gloria J. Davis of Decatur, Ill.
Board Chairman Bill Evans and board members Mike Sanz, Evva Anderson and Michael Rivers visited the 9,850-student Lee County Schools led by Moss on Monday, and the 9,100-student Decatur Public Schools led by Davis on Tuesday.
The group talked with principals, teachers, district staff, parents and community members about each finalist.
Evans and the other board members declined Wednesday to discuss what they learned about the finalists or their impressions of their school districts.
"I think it would be totally inappropriate for us to discuss what we felt and the information we were given before we spoke to the entire board," Evans said by phone from an airport.
He said the group spoke to about a dozen school personnel and community members in each district, but did not tour schools because of time constraints.
"I think we've got a good sense of things," Evans said. "All four of us felt the people we talked to were candid and frank about their schools and the superintendents, which helps us out quite a bit."
He said the visits reinforced much of what the board already learned from interviews with Moss and Davis and read in their candidate files compiled by search firm Ray and Associates.
Both finalists have been lauded for helping their districts close racial and socio-economic achievement gaps, improve graduation rates and bolster curriculum.
Moss' supporters say he has expanded classroom technology and improved graduation rates, though some standardized-test scores lag state averages.
Davis' supporters say she has increased academic rigor. Her district, though, is in the fourth year of a corrective action plan for failing to make adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
She received the backing of interim Beaufort County superintendent Jackie Rosswurm and the school district's senior staff in a letter last week to school board member Laura Bush, the board's secretary.
Evans would not say Wednesday which of the two finalists the travel group favors.
"We have two people, both of whom can take the district forward," Evans said. "It's going to be a matter of which one we think is better suited to do that. But it's time to make a decision."
- Jackie Rosswurm, senior staff, back Davis for Beaufort County school superintendent: Feb. 21, 2013
- VIDEO: Beaufort County school board narrows superintendent field to 2: Feb. 20, 2013
- School superintendent finalist Davis praised as 'visionary': Feb. 18, 2013
- Beaufort superintendent candidate Moss visionary to some, despite outburst caught on video: Feb. 11, 2013