JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Five months after the Duval County School Board began a nationwide search for the next superintendent, the five finalists sat for their job interviews.

After spending the day in 90-minute sessions with the four men and one woman, the board narrowed their field to:

  • Kriner Cash, superintendent of Memphis, Tenn., School District
  • Dale Robbins, associate superintendent of the Gwinnett, Ga., School District
  • Nikolai Vitti, an assistant superintendent with Miami-Dade schools

The only internal candidate, Kathryn Leroy, Duval County's current chief academic officer, and William Miller, executive director of Michigan Association of Statewide Intermediate School Administrators, did not make the cut.

During an all-day workshop, board asked the same questions of each candidates. The questions included leadership style, experience making unpopular decisions and how they would take the school district to the next level.

"The first thing that needs to be tackled is collaboration, rallying all stakeholders under a common vision and purpose for the public school system," Vitti said.

"I think I can be the type of superintendent that can raise their expectations by valuing the work that they do," Robbins said. "I do believe very strongly our core business is teaching and learning with an emphasis on learning."

School Board Chairwoman Betty Burney says the board carefully vetted the candidates, involved the community and feels confident they'll select the right person to lead the district.

"The board has it's vision, and it's vision is that we will have a transformational leader capable of taking all children to higher levels," Burney said. "So today we get the opportunity to get to the next step of hiring the person responsible for carrying out that charge."

After completing all five interviews, the board began deliberations. After a brief meeting, the board narrowed the field to three, where it would remain Tuesday evening. Burney said its doubtful they would make a hiring decision until a later date.

For more information on the five superintendent finalists, read their applications: