The Washington School District will interview four candidates this week for the new Early Learning Center (ELC) director position.

The interviews are scheduled for Wednesday, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brendan Mahon.

The district had about 25 applicants for the newly created position. Of the four to be interviewed, one is a current employee.

The interviews will be conducted by Mahon, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann and Special Services Director Dr. Rachael Franssen.

“We have some really good candidates — all of them seem very well-qualified for job,” Mahon said.

The finalists for the position will then interview Tuesday, Jan. 21, with Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer.

“We hope to have a recommendation to the board of education next Wednesday,” VanLeer said.

The district’s Early Learning Center is currently under construction on the Washington West Elementary Campus. The 25,000-square-foot building will be open in August for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

The center will combine three programs under one roof — early childhood special education, Parents as Teachers and all of the in-town preschools.

VanLeer said the director will oversee both the early childhood special education and regular education preschool programs, and will provide supervision over the Parents as Teachers program as well.

“This person will be in charge of the budgets, staff evaluation, compliance and overall operations of the building,” she said.

“The director will need to be knowledgeable in the areas of early learning instruction and curriculum, special education, administration and public relations.”

VanLeer said a presentation on the Early Learning Center will be given at next Wednesday’s school board meeting.

“We will provide a great deal of information regarding the opening of our new center, and will answer questions and get feedback from the board,” she said.

School officials said construction of the center is on schedule and work continues on finalizing curriculum and programming.

The building will house 13 classrooms in total, including infant/toddler, 2-year-old, preschool and early childhood special education rooms, the Parents as Teachers office and meeting rooms, and a multipurpose room for group meetings and presentations.

Lawlor Corporation is the general contractor for the $4.1 million project, which is being financed through a $9 million bond issue approved this past April.