The Boston school board decides on the new district leader on Wednesday. Here is an overview of the candidates

Skipper and Welch were each publicly interviewed for about eight hours Thursday and Friday by panels of community members, educators, students and the school committee. The Boston school committee must make its choice on Wednesday.

Here’s a closer look to each of the finalists.

Mary Skipper

Somerville Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper posing for a portrait at the Edgerly Education Center in Somerville.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

It’s been decades since Boston chose a superintendent with local roots as deep as Mary Skipper: an Arlington kid who grew up bowling at Sacco’s in Somerville and taking shifts at Johnnie’s Foodmaster; a Tufts Classics major who taught Latin at Boston Latin Academy before progressing through Boston’s public schools, from principal to district administrator overseeing three dozen high schools.

Some see Skipper, Somerville’s superintendent since 2015, as the antidote to Boston schools’ ills, a stark and local contrast to the parade of foreign school leaders who have tried to fix the district’s longstanding problems. Wednesday evening, they will learn if the school committee agrees, as it chooses who will lead BPS through one of the most tense and important chapters in its history.

Read the rest of Skipper’s profile here.

Tommy Welch

Tommy Welch, one of two finalists to be the next superintendent of the BPS, pushes his way through the crowd at the end of a graduation ceremony for sixth graders at James Otis School.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Tommy Welch managed his region of 7,000 students like a mini-district by building relationships through frequent visits, regularly monitoring student performance, and responding urgently to any issues that arose. His area — larger than most other school districts in Massachusetts — has weathered the pandemic better than the rest of the city’s schools, with more stable attendance rates and test scores.

Welch said he would bring his strong management to the top job.

In a district often crippled by dysfunction, Welch’s tenacity, coupled with his ability to build trusting relationships, are exactly what Boston’s next superintendent needs. say people who have worked with him.

Read the rest of Welch’s profile here.


Jenna Russell can be contacted at jenna.russell@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jrussglobe. Bianca Vázquez Toness can be contacted at bianca.toness@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @biancavtoness.