Chariman Charlie Walraven of the Gordon County Board of Education says the board is hoping to begin interviewing candidates to replace Superintendent Susan Remillard by the middle of May, aiming for a start date of July 1.

Though originally planning to retire when her contract ended in June of 2020, Remillard announced her altered plans during Monday’s board of education meeting. At the meeting, she said after much thought she ultimately made the decision to conclude her time in the district a year earlier than anticipated — in July.

With Remillard’s retirement now just three months away, the district is starting to accept applications for superintendent, who would oversee more than 6,600 students and 824 staff members.

The board released the application link on Tuesday for those interested in the position, saying the deadline to apply is April 23. Walraven said the two-week period was primarily chosen because the board was on a significant time crunch, adding that two weeks should provide enough time for interested candidates to apply.

“I don’t know of anyone specifically,” Walraven said of internal candidates who might be applying, adding that the board would not favor district employees over external applicants during the decision process. “We have a lot of good people here but we also want to have an open mind and hire the best person for Gordon County Schools.”

As far as qualifications, Walraven said the application lists out what the board is looking for — someone with a specialist degree, leadership background and extensive experience in education. Walraven said he expected a good amount of applications to be turned in for consideration.

After April 23, he said it would take a bit of time for board members to review the applications and narrow them down. “We don’t have a timeline, but we’re hoping to extend interviews by the middle of May,” Walraven said.

The board chairman said on such a short notice, him and other board members will be working hard to make a decision as soon as possible, with the estimated start date for the new superintendent to be July 1.

One of Remillard’s original reasons for staying until June 2020 was to help a new superintendent get adjusted to the job. While her plans have changed, Walraven said if the board makes a decision before June, he predicted Remillard would still be willing to walk her replacement through the daily responsibilities of a superintendent.

Remillard has been in the education sector for 30 years. She’s been working for Gordon County Schools for the past 12 years, starting out as curriculum director before becoming superintendent. She said following her retirement, her and her husband plan to retire to their house in Alabama.

Further details on the application process are available at gcbe.org/Page/9296 or on teachgeorgia.org.