PORTLAND – A five-member delegation from Portland will be in Philadelphia on Monday to ask school officials and community members about Emmanuel Caulk, one of two finalists to be Portland’s next superintendent.

Caulk, an assistant superintendent, is in charge of 36 of the 249 schools in Philadelphia’s system, the eighth-largest in the nation.

Later this month, the delegation plans to visit the Paterson Public School District, an urban district in northern New Jersey, about 18 miles west of New York City. That’s the home of the other finalist, Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, who has been deputy superintendent in the district for two years.

Paterson is the third-largest school district in New Jersey and one of its most diverse, with 60 percent of its students of Hispanic origin and 30 percent African-American. Nearly 50 percent of the students in Paterson speak a primary language other than English.

Of the 156,000 students in Philadelphia schools, 56 percent are African-American and 18 percent are of Hispanic origin.

Portland, Maine’s largest school district, has 7,000 students, 62 percent of whom are white.

Caulk was deputy chief for instruction and leadership support in Philadelphia before he was promoted in 2009 to interim regional assistant superintendent.

The Portland Board of Public Education hopes to hire a new superintendent by the end of June but will take more time if it’s needed, said Sarah Thompson, chairwoman of the superintendent search committee.

“We always said we are not going to rush the process,” Thompson said.

The school board is looking for a replacement for Superintendent Jim Morse, whose contract ends June 30. Morse, who will take a new job in New Hampshire, plans to leave the job June 15 and use his remaining vacation time.

The five-member delegation is made up of school board member Marnie Morrione; Carter Friend, who is a parent and vice president of the United Way of Greater Portland; Joanie Gildart, a veteran teacher at Longfellow Elementary School who was appointed by the Portland Teachers Association; Kate Herson, a former administrator; and Ira Waltz, principal of Deering High School.

Caulk and Wyngaard came to Portland last month to meet with school officials and community leaders.

Thompson said the delegation plans to speak with Caulk’s supervisors and subordinates Monday, as well as community members.

Thompson said the school board spent six to eight hours with each finalist, but it’s important to hear what other people say about the candidates, not just what the candidates say during their interviews.

“Unless you talk to people who work on the ground with this person, we don’t have a full sense of the candidate,” she said.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted 791-6369 or at:

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