The five-member panel set up in a small conference room at the Department of Education, near the boardroom where, on Feb. 21, the state board recommended that Deal suspend DeKalb's longest-serving school board members.
The suspension recommendation came in the wake of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placing the school district on accreditation probation, citing governance, ethical and financial issues.
The nominating panel, chaired by Kenneth Mason, received 403 applications by its March 6 deadline, and is under intense pressure to cull the list down and present qualified finalists quickly.
Since the Feb. 25 suspensions, the remaining three DeKalb Board members have been unable to meet because of the lack of a five-member quorum.
The other members of the nominating panel are state Board of Education member Jim Bostic; Garry McGiboney, the Georgia Department of Education associate superintendent of Policy and Charter Schools; Alicia Philip, president of the nonprofit Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta; and Georgia Power regional external affairs manager Sadie Dennard.
The panel is closely checking the applications to ensure the candidates are eligible to represent the school board district for which they apply. It is also looking at other factors such as how each applicant would help create a better school district and how they would improve student performance.
Already, more than 50 people have been weeded out because they didn't meet eligibility requirements.
The panel is expected to have face-to-face interviews with about 75 applicants.
Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Deal, said the governor has asked the committee to provide him with at least two names for each of the six seats.
The applicants include ex-lawmakers, government officials, educators, parents and Donna Edler, one of the suspended school board members.
Edler said Thursday that she did not put her name on the list. She says she plans to apply for reinstatement by other means provided under state law.
The appointed replacements will serve out the remainder of the suspended board members' terms, which expire in November 2014.