Chairman Bruce Dickerson said this week that he is pleased with the whole process, so far.
"We have about 20 serious applications, and they have come to us from all over," he said. As would be expected, most of the applications came from present North Carolina residents, including some from Bladen. But, applications were also received from residents in at least eight other states.
"The applications represent a good cross section of gender, race, and age," Dickerson said, "and I think all of us (the board members) are pleased about that."
Vice Chairman Edge agreed.
"We've also have a good cross section of experience among the applicants," he said.
Edge said he, too, is pleased with how the search process has gone. He and Dickerson both believe the board should have no problem getting a new superintendent placed into the job before the target date of July 1.
Present Superintendent Dr. Byron Lawson will leave the post on June 30. He officially retired in December, but will continue in the post through June to give the board ample time to find his replacement.
The board has chosen some of the candidates, from their resumes, for interviews. Board members spent all day Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, in interview sessions. Another day of interviews will be held tomorrow (Saturday, April 3).
Still other interview sessions may be planned, said Dickerson, if the board members feel they are needed.
"Really," he said, "we are really impressed with the quality of our applicants. There are so many good applicants that we might add some to the list to be interviewed personally."
Both Dickerson and Edge say the board made the correct decision to retain the North Carolina School Boards Association to help in the search. The board contracted with the Association, which is headquartered in Raleigh, for a fee of $5,000 plus expenses, to assist. Both men believe the money not only has been well spent, but is a bargain. Expenses beyond the $5,000 base have been minimal. Some school systems looking for new superintendents spend considerably more in their searches than Bladen has had to do.
"I am extremely pleased with the way the North Carolina School Boards Association has handled this thing," Edge said. "They've been real professionals."
The board hopes to announce the superintendent selection no later than mid-May. From this point, members will narrow the field to a small number of finalists, conduct further interviews with those finalists, then make the choice in time to work out contract details and provide a time of acceptance and transition to the person chosen.