PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The Board of Trustees for the Pass Christian Public School District have a daunting task in front of them. They must find a superintendent who can replace Dr. Sue Matheson.
Under Matheson's leadership, Pass Christian rose from Hurricane Katrina bigger and better. New schools opened. And the students became nationally recognized for their Star performance in the classroom.
That success is part of the reason Dr. Matheson is ready to trade in life as a superintendent, and enjoy the benefits of retirement.
Replacing her won't be easy. And educators across Mississippi know that.
"We're down here to kick the search off for the Pass Christian District. This is the beginning," Mississippi School Board Association Director Mike Waldrop said. The state board has as much interest in who becomes Pass Christian's next superintendent as parents do.
Several parents attended Tuesday's Pass Christian school board meeting. They came to express what they think the next leader of the school system must bring to the table.
"I guess the tradition in the Pass to not just rest on the walls of what we have accomplished, but to look forward into what the next generation of learners is going to need," one resident said.
Connie Jenkins, a former employee of the school district, knows all to well how crucial it is to pick the right leader. "Not everybody fits into every mold that you would like them to fit into, so when the time comes to let somebody go I want someone that would be able to do that job," Jenkins said.
Board members say the goal is to find an academic minded and courageous decision maker who will fit perfectly into the Pass Christian School District.
"We think that our expertise adds a lot to this. We are very experienced and we can help them in developing the criteria. We can help them finding the right candidates that match up with the criteria that they've established," Waldrop said.
Because Dr. Matheson will retire when this school year is over, school board members know it's imperative they find a replacement as soon as possible. That need however, shouldn't suggest any hasty decisions. School board members say it's also important to them to take their time and pick the right person for the job."
"I think the audience reflects the mentality of this school district. We are great and we want to be even greater," Waldrop said.
Generally the board's recommendation is to advertise the position for six weeks. However, the entire process to get a new superintendent in place, without rushing, will take about three months.