A open search means that the general public knows all the candidates. One benefit of this is that the board has the option to conduct open interviews with the community.
A confidential search means candidates do not have to publicly announce their application and interviews are conducted in private. A benefit to approach is that districts may see a difference in the quality of the candidate pool, as candidates are able to apply without jeopardizing their current role. If a school board chooses this approach, it is critical that they receive community feedback in the beginning stages of the process.
As with the search firm choice, both approaches have their pros and cons, and it is important that the school board and public understand and be transparent with these tradeoffs.