CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School Board says it interviewed six candidates for the superintendent role out of more than 40 applicants before ultimately coming to a near-unanimous decision.

The board worked with BWP search firm to conduct a national search to find a highly qualified candidate based on an agreed-upon leadership profile. The board said 44 applications were received and reviewed by BWP before being narrowed to a final seven.

“After reviewing the applications, the Board ultimately decided to interview six candidates in person. Following the interviews, a vote was taken by the board regarding which candidates should proceed to the next round of interviews,” board members said.

Three candidates were chosen for a second round of interviews – among them was Dr. Eric Gallien, who was the only candidate the board said received a unanimous 9-0 vote for a second in-person interview.

“After a second interview and a day in the district, Dr. Gallien received a 6 – 2 vote to proceed with contract negotiations,” they said.

But before that decision, the board scheduled community meet-and-greets with three of the top superintendent candidates. Dr. Gallien’s meet-and-greet was the only one to happen after two other candidates dropped out when a Facebook group allegedly leaked their names.

“The vote to proceed with Dr. Gallien’s contract negotiation was taken after the board had ample opportunity to interview multiple candidates. His selection was based on the quality of his application, his interviews, and his record of success in showing academic improvement in multiple settings,” board members said in a Thursday news release.