The Pickerington Board of Education has hired a consultant to assist in its search for a new superintendent.

The Pickerington Board of Education has hired a consultant to assist in its search for a new superintendent.

During a special meeting Monday, Feb. 17, the board unanimously approved an $11,500 contract with Dublin-based K-12 Business Consulting Inc. to help install a replacement for outgoing Pickerington Local School District Superintendent Rob Walker.

Walker, 58, announced earlier this month he'll retire, effective Aug. 1. He cited a need to focus on his family and health, but declined to further discuss those issues.

Under the terms of the contract, K-12 will receive up to $11,500, but if the contract is terminated by either the board of the company, K-12 will be paid the equivalent of $95 per hour for search services and $45 per for time spent in travel.

K-12 will conduct meetings with the board and community to develop a candidate profile.

Those interactions with the community will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 19, when the board and K-12 host a public forum in the lecture hall of Pickerington High School North.

Another public forum to identify the values, skills and experiences the community seeks in its next superintendent will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in the commons area at Pickerington High School Central.

Additionally, a "Leadership Profile Assessment" form is available at and can be completed and returned to the district by Feb. 28.

Board President Jim Brink said the board hopes to have a pool of applicants before the end of next month.

"The deadline for (superintendent applications) actually is going to be March 26," he said. "Interviews were scheduled for the first two weeks of April."

Under the terms of the contract, K-12 will prepare a written candidate profile and advertise the position for the board. It also will "develop a target list of candidates that meet criteria identified and actively recruit potential candidates."

Additionally, K-12 will screen initial applicants to help the board narrow the list of those candidates which will be interviewed and select a list of finalists. It also will conduct background checks and help negotiate a contract for a new superintendent.

Walker currently receives an annual salary of $135,000 and an additional $75,498 in benefits compensation for things such as health insurance and vehicle allowances.

"We're really shooting for May," Brink said, of the board's goal for hiring a new superintendent.

Last week, Brink also said he expected approximately five finalists would be identified for followup interviews.

Unlike Walker, who was hired after neither being identified as an applicant for the superintendent's post nor one of the board's finalist candidates, Brink said he hoped the new superintendent will be identified through the application and interview processes.

After Walker's hire, he noted that he'd asked not to be considered an official candidate for the post because he was in the midst of seeking support for a levy for Lancaster schools, where he was superintendent.

"With any luck, unlike last time, the one we pick will be among (the finalists)," Brink said. "I prefer things being open.

"The last time circumstances were kind of unusual and dictated that approach," Brink said. "It's certainly not preferred."

Brink also noted board members hadn't anticipated Walker's retirement, but they understand his reasons for stepping down.

Hired Aug. 1, 2012, Walker was under contract through the 2014-15 school year.