After a slow start, State Board of Education Chairman Allan Taylor said the extended deadline to apply for the state’s top education job has paid off and a wave of people have since applied.

“I kinda lost track of how many people applied,” he said Friday. “All I know is I am very happy with the pool of candidates.”

The deadline to apply was Thursday and the State Board of Education committee responsible for recommending a name to the governor to fill the vacant job will meet next Wednesday. Taylor said there will not be another extension and interviews of the finalists will begin shortly after Wednesday’s meeting.

Taylor had originally said the finalists would be revealed to the media, but has since decided against that after candidates signaled they did not want their names released if they did win the nomination.

Taylor said he is hopeful a new education commissioner will be in office before the start of the upcoming school year.

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