The Boston Public School Committee is set to vote Wednesday on a new superintendent, marking the end of nearly a year-long process. Following a series of private and public interviews, the job — one of the most difficult and most important in the city — will be offered to one of three finalists. WGBH's Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke with Boston City Councilor-At-Large Annissa Essaibi George about the process and the finalists. Essaibi George is a former teacher and chairs the council's education committee. The interview below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: We were talking about this a year ago when the Acting Superintendent Laura Perille was appointed. And so here we are facing a final decision. Three candidates, one has local ties. You've expressed a desire that there was a candidate with deeper roots here in Boston, with more direct ties to the city. How do you feel about these three?

Councilor Annissa Essaibi George: I absolutely have. In an ideal world for me and when we spoke about this last year, I talked about the importance of having a teacher in that role, someone who's spent a significant amount of time in a classroom, preferably in Boston. And those Boston roots we know are so important, because Boston is a place that's sometimes difficult to get to know. I will say off the bat, we have, I think, three very highly qualified candidates. I was not a part of the search committee, so I'm not sure what the pool looked like.

But the three people — Marie, Brenda and Oscar — that were put before the public over the last couple of weeks really do come with incredible and rich resumes, and I'm really impressed with them. I will say, though, I wish, and I'm disappointed that we weren't able to put forward three Boston candidates. What an ideal situation that would be to pick from three Boston folks.

Mathieu: You're a teacher. You know they exist?

Essaibi George: I do know they exist. I'm a former BPS teacher. I was very proud to teach at East Boston High for the 13 years prior to being elected to the Boston City Council. I've got four kids in the system. My work brings me to education every single day, I chair the council's committee on education. We're in the midst of the budget process, talking about some budget reductions in a number of our schools across the district, talking about the future of so many of our schools when we think about BuildBPS, and really wanting to make sure that our kids are getting the best they can every single day when they go to school in Boston. And hiring the the superintendent is one of the most critical things that the school committee and the mayor can do.

I'm happy that last week, over the course of some of the public interviews, I was able to be engaged in one of the public forums for each of the candidates over three days. It was it was wonderful to have that bird's eye view. But again — I have shared this with the mayor, I've shared this with the chair of the school committee — I do wish that I was part of that search, because I think that there is just there's just never enough time to get to know the candidates in the way I would like to get to know them. But I'm also like getting into the weeds. I like getting into the nitty-gritty. But I'm excited about this next phase, this next opportunity for our kids and for our school system.

Mathieu: Should the chair of the education committee automatically be part of that search?

Essaibi George: I think so, but it's not my decision to make and I certainly don't want to harp on that. For me, it's important to make sure that we're making the best decision we can for our kids in our district, and for my kids, quite frankly, for the children that I used to teach, and for my colleagues' students. But for my own children, I want to make sure that we've got the best person here in Boston, and the best person that's going to stay with us for a little bit of time. We've had too much much uncertainty, too much instability when it comes to leadership of our school department.

The Interim Superintendent Laura Perille has done really a wonderful job over this last year. When we think about the interim role, we think that not much will get done, that there won't be much movement, that it's just simply status quo, and Superintendent Perille over this last year has proved that that doesn't have to be the case. We haven't always seen eye to eye, we haven't always agreed on what's happening over at the school department over the last year. But she really has fully invested her time, her energy, her expertise and her passion in that work over the last year. So as we prepare to transition, I just want to say I think officially in on the air that I really appreciated the work she has done over this last year.

Mathieu: The three names on the list have some pedigree here, and two are women, which has been noted frequently here. Marie Izquierdo of Miami-Dade Public Schools, a massive district; Brenda Cassellius used to head Minnesota's education department. And Oscar Santos used to be the superintendent in Randolph, and he is now at Cathedral High School in the South End.

Essaibi George: And he's a product of the Boston Public Schools, which is fantastic.

Mathieu: Yes. So is that getting closer to what you're looking for?

Essaibi George: Well, I think that it's certainly, to me, very appealing. I think it's wonderful that he is not just of our system, he is a graduate of our system, he was here, he worked here for for a while and has roots in the area, in his work in Randolph and his work now at Cathedral [High School]. I think that's really important. And I think with the three candidates, they all brought something very unique to the table and very promising to the table.

Mathieu: Does that make him your front runner?

Essaibi George: No, I don't have a front runner. Again, 90 minutes with each of them over the course of three days, in a forum that included, I think, eight or nine other folks asking not my own questions but questions from the public, which is very important, they were great questions. One of the questions I asked was about parents as partners.

You have heard some of the concerns that parents and the public have had over the last few weeks, and the timing of the announcement of who the three candidates were, of the public process — the announcements happening over school vacation week, the first public forum happening the very first day that kids are back in school, that families are re-engaged, the teachers are back in the classroom, administrators back in the building.

So it's important that we recognize that parents really want to be engaged in this process, and unfortunately, there is a feeling among many families and many community members that they didn't have that ability to fully engage in this process. But we are here, and we have to move forward with our district. So I do come with — you can hear it, and certainly what I'm sharing with you — that it's been a rushed process, but it's been such an important process. So I have mixed feelings, but I'm so happy that we are here at this point to make a decision.