SEATTLE -- More than a 1,000 people from 49 countries and states said they were interested in being the next superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, according to Seattle School Board President Leslie Harris.
About 60 put in an application, including a freshman at Seattle's Franklin High School.
"I'm India Unwin, I'm 15, and I'm running for Seattle Public Schools superintendent," said the poised freshman, wearing a white button on her fleece jacket that says, "India for Superintendent" a handmade gift and show of support from her 10-year-old sister.
A teen for superintendent? Seems non-traditional.
That’s exactly what the Seattle Public Schools says its looking for in its next superintendent.
"It's pretty unexpected, I think," Unwin after classes had ended as she sat inside the school's empty cafeteria.
Check out the "REQUIREMENTS" for SPS superintendent listed online:
"Superintendent credentials are not required. Non-traditional candidates are encouraged to apply."
"I think I'm pretty non-traditional cause I'm a teenage girl from a poor neighborhood of Seattle," said Unwin.
The School Board, which can't comment publicly on any of the 63 candidates, wants a visionary with strong administrative skills to lead its district's 53,000 students.
"I want to improve the district as much as I can."
India asks: Who knows students better than a student?
Franklin is like a home away from home for the teen. "I spend a lot of time here.”
She believes her experience as a student, being bilingual, getting good grades and caring about her community sets her apart. She pretty good at coding, too. She helped a group of elementary schools girls learn how to code in an after-school program in South Seattle.
“I taught them how to make games,” said Unwin.
"I'm doing this for the South End of Seattle and not just for myself, everyone here, because I know we often get pushed aside or ignored or overlooked in big district-wide discussions, and I'd like it to not be that way.”
If she got the job, she says she'd focus on finances. Her top priority would be to create equality and equity in schools.
"Equality to me is everyone getting the same thing, and equity is everyone getting what they need," said Unwin.
India knows it's unlikely she'll replace outgoing Superintendent Larry Nyland, but she hopes her message will resonate with the board.
School superintendent, after all, is a full-time job, and she already has one as a student.
"I definitely want to be educated and finish high school, but I also want to help my community."
The School Board is expected to vote for up to three semifinalists for school superintendent on Monday.
Harris, the School Board president, said in 2016 the board voted to not renew Nyland’s contract. His contract ends in May.
Harris said she has enormous respect for Nyland and hopes the next superintendent will build off the foundation he's created in the school district.
The semi-finalists will be introduced publicly at a town hall set for 5 p.m. March 29at the John Stanford Center Auditorium. A superintendent will be selected on April 4.