With several principal positions open for the 2011-12 school year, Stamford Public Schools decided to add an extra step in the selection process. The finalists will visit the schools with openings next week, Superintendent Joshua Starr said during Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

“We are looking for local input,” Starr said of the interviews to be done at the schools. The interview committees are made up of two parents, two teachers, a special education teacher/support staff, paraprofessional, current principal, Stamford Education Association president and co-president, paraprofessional president, a community member and Thomas Danehy, executive director for human capital development of the schools. The committees will then meet with Starr and Deputy Superintendent Winifred Hamilton to discuss the candidates and their compatibility with the school.

There is an opening at Cloonan Middle School, where David Rudolph will be retiring at the end of this year. The other openings are at the elementary level: Davenport Ridge, K.T. Murphy, Springdale, Toquam Magnet and Northeast.

About 50 people, mostly external candidates, have applied, Danehy said. Twelve candidates will go to the elementary schools and three will go to Cloonan, he said.

During the search, parents and other interested parties filled out surveys about the qualities they look for in a principal. The Board of Education will interview the final candidates April 25 and appoint the new principals at its April 26 meeting.

What qualities would you look for in a new principal? Share your thoughts below or send them to reporter Anthony Buzzeo at .