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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JACKSON — The announcement of Mississippi’s new state superintendent of education could come as early as Wednesday.

Board of Education Vice Chair Hal Gage of Vicksburg said that after interviewing five finalists Tuesday in closed sessions, the seven board members who were present voted unanimously for one candidate and intended to offer that person the job.

Gage would not identify the candidate, continuing the secrecy that has dominated the search.

One of the finalists interviewed Tuesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s student center was current Clinton Superintendent Phil Burchfield. He declined comment to The Associated Press. The other four finalists included three men and one woman. They also declined comment and the AP could not immediately identify them.

The state Senate must confirm the board’s choice.

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