TULSA -- The executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association has been offered the superintendent's job in the state's largest school district. The Tulsa school board voted unanimously Monday to offer the position to Keith Ballard. The terms of an employment contract for Ballard, including salary, benefits and any incentives, still must be negotiated but could be ready for a board vote by Aug. 18, board President Gary Percefull said. Ballard, who is out of state at a national conference of state school board associations, told the Tulsa World he wants some time to consider the offer. He also said he hoped to meet soon with community leaders and district patrons who were concerned that the board did not have any public receptions, as it has done in previous superintendent searches. "I want a chance to get to know people and to let people get to know me before I say yes," Ballard said in a telephone interview. The school board began pursuing the possibility of hiring Ballard on the same night in mid-July that it reached a contract termination agreement with Superintendent Michael Zolkoski, who is to leave on Oct. 10. Matt Livingood, the board member who first suggested Ballard as a possible successor to Zolkoski, apologized Monday for not communicating more clearly about the hiring process. He called Ballard a man of extraordinary qualifications who he believes can help engage the community next year in a discussion of long-range goals for the district beyond the ones it has adopted through 2010. Several board members made a point of saying that they had taken sufficient time and care in considering Ballard, whom they interviewed in a closed-door session July 25. One board member, Bobbie Gray, said many Tulsa principals know Ballard from taking the courses he teaches in a graduate program at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. Only two residents signed up to speak about Ballard's selection. Darryl Bright, the president of the watchdog group Citizens United for a Better Education System, read aloud a portion of the board's policy on affirmative action and nondiscrimination. "I don't think everybody had the opportunity to apply. In fact, you're probably skating on a violation of your own policy," Bright said. "I would have liked to have seen women and other minorities have the opportunity to apply." Twan Jones, the chairman of the legal redress committee of the NAACP-Tulsa Chapter, said that given that about 35 percent of the district's students are black, he did not understand how a minority candidate was not introduced and debated in offering the position. A board member, Lana Turner-Addison, acknowledged that she had heard before Mondays meeting from people who were concerned about Ballard's perceived lack of urban education experience, because he has worked in only the Claremore, Oologah and Coweta school districts. She said that Ballard, in fact, has a broad knowledge base that will allow him to motivate people within the district and communicate regularly with the community. Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.