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And now the work begins. According to Jim Puckett, Board Development Specialist with the Georgia School Boards Association, 34 applications were submitted for the open position of superintendent of Newton County Schools. Puckett presented the applications and other information to the Newton County Board of Education members during a special called executive session meeting on March 19.

“The next step for the board, after reviewing the applications, will be to determine those candidates they wish to interview,” said Puckett.

“This is the most important decision we make as a school board,” said Abigail Coggin, chair of the Newton County Board of Education. “We will review the information very carefully, conduct very thorough interviews, and deliberate long and hard on whom to select to lead our school system. We know our decision will directly impact the future of Newton County Schools and its students.”

Coggin added that information gleaned from the community survey on the superintendent search would most definitely be considered when making a final selection.

“We appreciate members of the community taking the time to provide their input,” said Coggin. “It’s their school system and they should have a say in who leads it, so we’ll review the information from the survey as we conduct interviews and ultimately decide who to hire for this most important position.”

According to Puckett, of the thirty-four applicants for the position, 26 hold doctorates—20 education doctorates and 6 doctors of philosophy. Six applicants hold education specialist degrees and the remaining two have masters degrees.

Six of the thirty four applicants are currently sitting school superintendents and six are either deputy, assistant, regional, or associate superintendents. Five of the applicants are current principals. Other positions held by applicants include director of exceptional education, executive director of support services, retired teacher, facilitator, consultant, former superintendent, assistant professor, executive consultant, Race to the Top Director, chief financial officer, public service faculty, chief human resources officer, and supervisor of math.

Twenty-four of the 34 applicants currently reside in Georgia and two are from Alabama. The remaining candidates hail from Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Arkansas, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia.

“We’re definitely very pleased to have received such a good response,” said Coggin. “On first glance there seems to be a very strong field of contenders for the position and that’s what we wanted. That is the reason we chose to do a national search. We want the very best person possible leading our school system into the future.”

According to Coggin, no dates have been set for interviews as yet.

“We need time to do a thorough review of the applications first,” she noted. “This is not a decision that needs to be rushed. We will review the applications and conduct our interviews, and when we are ready, we will announce to the community up to three finalists for the position.”