The McDuffie County Board of Education isn't taking its search for a new superintendent of schools lightly.
Still a considerable amount of time away from making a final decision, board members will soon begin working closely with Georgia School Board Association officials -- a group that has been hired by the board to aid in the search process -- to schedule interviews for the position.
Board Chairman Tommy Phelps said that there were a number of applications received before the Feb. 20 deadline, and that he was pleased with the experience and expertise many of the candidates could bring to McDuffie County.
"I'm very pleased. We have a large number of applicants, but I do think there is a good selection of qualified applicants within those as well," he said.
Current Superintendent of Schools Ed Grisham announced his retirement in December after 13 years of helping the school system achieve better test scores, improved facilities and graduating an abundance of college-prepared students. He began work in 1991 and has since remained a popular figure within the school system, communicating regularly with teachers and students while ensuring the school system remains in the black during current state budget constraints.
But for now, Dr. Grisham is sitting back and allowing the board and the GASB to whittle down the list of qualified candidates.
Mr. Phelps said that there's no "drop dead" date for making a decision on a new superintendent.
"It's a moving date because we've got to do the behind-the-scenes work now, then do interviews and all that," he said.
Board member Mike Love said that the GASB is specifically in charge of thoroughly examining each applicant before their name is submitted to the board.
"They'll check them out and do all the background work. Then we'll go from there as to who is interviewed and who is not interviewed," he said.
After that, it'll be up to the board to choose McDuffie County's first new school superintendent in 13 years.