A veteran Central school administrator who’s risen through the ranks, the dean of education at Nicholls State University, and a man who has run two Mississippi Delta school districts are seeking to become the second leader of public schools in Central since it broke away from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system a decade ago.

The Central School Board hopes to find among these three individuals someone who can replace founding Superintendent Michael Faulk, who is leaving Dec. 31 to serve in the newly created position of executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

Jason Fountain is the only in-house candidate. He’s worked in Central for almost nine years, starting as assistant principal at Tanglewood Elementary, then becoming principal of Central Middle in 2012 before moving last year to the main office to serve as director of secondary curriculum and instruction. Fountain also spent six years in higher education, working with student athletes at four universities, including LSU.

Leslie Jones has spent the past 17 years in academia as professor of education and, for the past five years, dean of the college of education at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. Nicholls is also her alma mater. Before joining higher education, Jones spent five years as a math teacher at St. James High School. For a year, she was an assistant elementary school principal in Thibodaux and then for two years was principal of Labadieville Primary School.

Finally, Paul E. Nelson is the only one of three applicants who has worked as a superintendent before. He spent almost four years as leader of Concordia Parish schools, which is close in size to Central. For the past 15 months, he has led the much smaller Tensas Parish school district, 30 miles upriver from Concordia. He was employed at Concordia for 21 years, working his way up to the position of superintendent, including teaching special education and social studies at Monterey High School.

Jones and Nelson have doctorates of philosophy, while Fountain has a doctorate of education.

Central School Board President David Walker released the applications of the three candidates, complete with cover letters, résumés and their teaching certificates. A few parts of the documents are blacked out, mostly cellphone numbers, for privacy reasons.

The superintendent search began in mid-August and the deadline to apply was Wednesday. Mailed-in applications had to be postmarked by the middle of last week. The applications were opened Monday.

Walker said the board will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, mostly behind closed doors, to settle on which applicants will come back for interviews. Those interviews will begin Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. at the theater at Central High School, 10200 E. Brookside Drive, Central.

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.