The Duluth School Board tabbed three search firms Friday to make presentations to the board, with the ultimate goal of one being chosen to lead the search for the district’s next superintendent.

The Duluth School Board unanimously voted to bring in BWP & Associates, Minnesota School Boards Associations (MSBA) Executive Search Services and Ray and Associates for presentations Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. The board is expected to hire one of these firms at its Nov. 19 board meeting.

Board members considered five firms and ranked them 1-5, with 1 going to the firm they liked the best and 5 being the firm they liked the least based on the submitted proposals and personal research.

After totaling the numbers, the two firms with the lowest scores were BWP & Associates and MSBA. BWP & Associates received No. 1 rankings from board members David Kirby, Nora Sandstad, Jill Lofald and Kelly Durick Eder.

Board member Rosie Loeffler-Kemp’s No. 1 choice was MSBA. Board members Alanna Oswald and Sally Trnka were absent from the meeting.

Firms not advancing to the next round were McPherson & Jacobson Executive Recruitment and School Exec Connect, which was used for the 2011 Duluth superintendent search.

Lofald said she ranked BWP No. 1 because it is a larger firm with more reach nationally, and has had a lot of work in Minnesota recently. Lofald said she also saw the benefits in going with MSBA.

“If we want to really sell Duluth and everything we have to offer, that's where MSBA would be our best advocate,” she said. “I think MSBA knows us well, they've known us for years and I think they would be able to give us candidates and sell us well, our district and city and what we are able to offer a candidate.”

Lofald said meeting the companies is the best way to decide who to go with.

Sandstad said she ranked BWP No. 1 because two of the three consultants the district would work with are women and one of the three has worked on Reimagine Minnesota, which is a program that addresses equity and excellence in education for all students.

Kirby said he also ranked BWP No. 1 because it has a large and diverse pool of candidates.

“I think that MSBA gives us a Minnesota connection, which could be good and bad,” he said. “If we are looking for a wide variety of nationwide candidates, I don't know if MSBA can give us that, because they are focused here, but we would have to talk to them.”

Loeffler-Kemp said she was in agreement to bring in BWP and MSBA, but also suggested bringing in Ray and Associates, which she ranked No. 2 and had heard good things about.