LAFAYETTE — Half of the candidates selected by the School Board on Tuesday night to interview for its superintendent job are from Louisiana.

The School Board met Tuesday in a special meeting to narrow the field of applicants from 26 to 10.

Board members present unanimously selected Walter Gonsoulin Jr., of Starkville, Miss., assistant superintendent of federal programs and operations for the Starkville School District with eight votes. Gonsoulin began his teaching career in Iberia Parish and held administrative positions in St. Martin Parish and also taught at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Current Lafayette Parish Schools Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services Katie Landry secured seven votes for an interview. Landry is a product of the school system and has spent her 42-year career within the system.

Work to begin setting up a schedule for interviews will begin soon, School Board president Mark Allen Babineaux said. Babineaux suggested that the order of candidate interviews be selected at random because candidates will be making public presentations and taking questions in a public forum.

It’s possible that some candidates may be interviewed via video conferencing, Babineaux said.

In the first round of voting the following seven candidates received a majority of the vote:

e_SBlt Don Aguillard, of Centerville, St. Mary Parish school superintendent, with six votes from board members: Greg Awbrey, Mark Allen Babineaux, Kermit Bouillion, Tehmi Chaisson, Mark Cockerham and Rae Trahan.

e_SBlt Pat Cooper, of New Orleans, president and chief executive officer of the Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation, with six votes from: Awbrey, Beasley, Bouillion, Chaisson, Cobb and Cockerham.

e_SBlt Craig A. Fiegel, of Novi, Mich., superintendent of Canton Community schools with six votes from: Awbrey, Babineaux, Bouillion, Chaisson, Cockerham and Trahan.

e_SBlt Gonsoulin, of Starkville, Miss., assistant superintendent of federal programs and operations for the Starkville School District with eight votes from: Awbrey, Babineaux, Beasley, Bouillion, Chaisson, Cobb, Cockerham and Trahan.

e_SBlt Luis Gonzales, of Harrisburg, Pa., superintendent and chief executive officer of Central Dauphin School District in Harrisburg, Pa., with six votes from: Babineaux, Beasley, Bouillion, Cobb, Cockerham and Trahan.

e_SBlt Gary Jones, of Alexandria, superintendent of Rapides Parish schools with five votes from: Awbrey, Babineaux, Bouillion, Cockerham and Trahan.

e_SBlt Landry, of Lafayette, Lafayette Parish school system deputy superintendent of instructional services with seven votes from: Awbrey, Babineaux, Beasley, Bouillion, Chaisson, Cockerham and Trahan.

A tie-breaker was needed to select the final three spots from among Wayne Alexander, Sheila Guidry, John Pate and Maria Pitre-Martin, who each received four votes. Board member Tommy Angelle, who was absent for the first round of voting, arrived at the meeting in time to cast a ballot in the tie-breaker.

The following three candidates round out the top 10:

e_SBlt Alexander, of Old Lyme, Conn., director and special education teacher for Hartford public schools with eight tie-breaker votes from: Awbrey, Babineaux, Beasley, Bouillion, Chaisson, Cobb, Cockerham and Trahan.

e_SBlt Guidry, of Prairieville, executive director of the Louisiana Department of Education’s School Turnaround Office with six tie-breaker votes from: Angelle, Awbrey, Beasley, Chaisson, Cobb and Cockerham.

• Pitre-Martin, of Holly Springs, N.C., North Carolina Department of Public Instruction director of curriculum and instruction with votes from: Angelle, Awbrey, Babineaux, Beasley, Bouillion, Chaisson, Cobb and Trahan.