South San Antonio Independent School District’s board of trustees has identified five finalists as possible replacements for retiring Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra.

Thirty-two people applied for the superintendent’s job from eight states, including Texas, said consultant James Guerra, who is helping the school board with its search. The board is scheduled to interview the finalists Wednesday and Thursday night at Palo Alto College in the Performing Arts Building.

Guerra said the board used an online portal to screen candidates prior to inviting them in for interviews, viewing video interviews that were pre-recorded.

After interviews conclude on Thursday, the board may announce a lone finalist or choose to invite two candidates back for a second round of interviews. Guerra declined to comment on whether any internal candidates were being considered.

“We’re rounding out the process,” Guerra told the Rivard Report on Tuesday. “The board is well within their right to make a selection Thursday, but they do have the option to continue with the agreed-upon timeline and agenda and continue with the second round of interviews, which is the traditional course. …”

Saavedra, who announced his retirement in early June, started with South San in 2014 and at the time was the fifth person to run the district in less than three years.

In four years, Saavedra oversaw the district through state intervention, when the Texas Education Agency appointed a state conservator to oversee South San’s financial management and governance. The conservator announced in January that she would be leaving the district because South San had made “significant progress.”

Saavedra had previously said he would remain as superintendent through the end of his contract, but recently announced he would leave once his successor is in place.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.