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Standing in front of four news cameras, five reporters, and a dozen San Diego Unified Schools staff members, school board president Richard Barrera stood at a podium to announce the three finalists to become the next superintendent of the eighth largest school district in the country.

The three finalists are Bill Kowba, currently the interim superintendent and former Chief Financial Officer for SDUSD; Debbra Lindo, chief-executive officer for College Track, a college prep course for under-privileged high school students in Oakland; and Dale Vigil, former head of schools for Hayward Unified School District.

Barrera, who stood beside Bill Kowba and school board members John de Beck and Katherine Nakamura, explained the four-month selection process.

"We heard from the community a description of the qualities of the next superintendent," said Barrera. "Someone who is going to make a commitment to the school district...so that we can start to overcome some of the turnover that we have seen over the last several years."

Out of the 37 candidates that applied for the job, three of which were added by school board members, the board interviewed six. They then narrowed the number of candidates down to three.

At the press conference, Barrera also addressed concerns that Interim Superintendent Kowba had a lock on the job long before the application process began.

"There was a lot of talk about that and that's why we extended the application process. We did believe there were candidates out there that thought that," said Barrera.

"We've got five people on this board. Anyone who has a sense of the five of us knows that there will be a lot of deliberation," said Barrera. "All three of these candidates have every opportunity to be selected."

The three finalists will appear at a forum on Thursday, June 17, inside the auditorium at the district's education center in Normal Heights. In the week following the forum, the board will conduct additional interviews with the three finalists and plan to make a decision by Tuesday, June 29.

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