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Superintendent search nets 46 applicants from South, across nation

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Rome City Schools

Forty-six people have applied to be Rome City Schools’ superintendent, according to board of education officials.

“That is the most we’ve ever had since I have been on the board,” said Faith Collins, board chairman. “I could not believe it.”

The 46 applications were turned in to the Georgia School Boards Association’s superintendent search site. The organization has had the job posting up since mid-August and stopped taking applications Friday.

Collins has not seen the applications yet, because a GSBA team — as part of their search services — evaluates the applicants and rates them on how well they meet the qualifications put forth by the Rome BOE.

After the GSBA team has finished the evaluations, a representative will make a presentation to the board outlining their findings and listing the applicants that best fit the board’s qualifications. The board will then select who they want to interview.

While the large number of applicants — unusual for this time of year — is a boon, it also will slow down the process, Collins said.

“Initially, they were expecting to go through the applications this week and try to present to us next week,” she explained. “Because of the large number, they are not sure exactly when they will be finished and ready to present now.”

The applicant pool consists of 13 applicants from Georgia, two from Tennessee, 15 from Alabama and the rest are from states across the nation, Collins said.

“I know we received one from New York, but I do not know where the rest are from at this time,” she said. “When I heard how many applied, I felt like that is a testament to the fact that Rome is a great place to live and if they go on our website to learn about us, they see how many wonderful things are happening and what a great system Rome City Schools is.”

Collins said that while the board was originally hoping to have a choice made by January, they realize there are time constraints at this point.

“If we don’t get the applications until the end of October or early November as we are now expecting to, we will only have about two weeks until Thanksgiving break begins and then when we are back, we will only have a few weeks until Christmas,” she said.

Collins added that that was not a lot of time, considering the board would have to schedule interviews with candidates.

“We hope to maybe narrow it down to 10, then to seven or five,” she said. “We are not sure right now.”

Collins said the board had agreed that this was not a process to rush.

“We want to take our time and get the proper person in,” she said. “We are in good hands and we are blessed to have someone who could step in and run the system the way Lou Byars has.”

Byars — Rome City Schools’ chief operations officer — has been acting as interim superintendent since mid-September. He took the helm after former superintendent Michael Buck retired from the system in September because of family obligations.

Byars applied for the permanent superintendent position, he said.

“I would love to be able to drop the ‘interim’ from that title,” he said. “I grew up in Rome, attended Rome City Schools and I would love to serve.”

Byars said that if he is not chosen as superintendent, he hopes to continue in his position as chief operations officer.