By Tom Tolen /

Half a dozen finalists have been selected for interviews to become the new Superintendent for Brighton Area Schools.

Meeting in special session Monday afternoon and evening, the Brighton Board of Education board quickly went into executive session to discuss in detail the over 20 candidates for the position, which opened up after the retirement of former Supt. Greg Gray at the end of June. At Monday’s meeting, the board voted to pare down the list of candidates to six — three men and three women. One of the candidates, Sharon Irvine, is currently Brighton’s assistant superintendent for labor relations and personnel. Irvine began her duties in July of last year, and prior to that was assistant superintendent of the Warren Consolidated School District near Detroit. The other candidates are Novi Community Schools Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Gary Kinzer; Swartz Creek Schools Superintendent Benjamin Mainka; Marlette Schools Superintendent Sarah Barratt; Brandon School District Superintendent Matthew Outlaw; and Jennifer Hammond, executive director of academic services in the Muskegon Public Schools.

The facilitator of the meeting was John Silveri of the Michigan Leadership Institute, the search firm which the board chose to conduct the search. Board President Andy Burchfield told WHMI after the meeting that they “have a very strong candidate pool (with) a good, diverse background.” Board Secretary Roger Myer added that, “It’s a very impressive pool.”

Under the current schedule, which is subject to change, the board will interview the candidates on Aug. 17, 18, 19 and 21, and on Sept. 1 and 2 will interview the two finalists - one each night. Under the arrangement, the board will choose Brighton’s next superintendent on Sept 23rd and vote on his or her contract on Oct. 12th, with the person's first day on the job being Oct. 26th. The next regular meeting of the Board of Education is Monday, Aug. 10th, at 7 p.m. The first day of school will be on Monday, Aug. 24th.