Gahanna-Jefferson residents are invited to let school leaders know what they want in their next superintendent during the annual Gahanna-Jefferson "State of the Schools," beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at Clark Hall, 380 Granville St.

Gahanna-Jefferson residents are invited to let school leaders know what they want in their next superintendent during the annual Gahanna-Jefferson "State of the Schools," beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at Clark Hall, 380 Granville St.

Following brief highlights of the district's achievements and goals by Superintendent Mark White and treasurer Julio Valladares, small-group discussions will allow community members to share what qualities they want in their new superintendent.

"The selection of superintendent of schools is probably the most important decision a board of education will ever make," said Claire Yoder, G-J board president. "The State of the Schools address will be the first in many steps in determining an appropriate profile of the characteristics desired in the new superintendent."

Forum discussions will focus on qualifications, the extent of the search, responsibilities and leadership style, said Michael Straughter, G-J public information officer.

The input will serve as a guide to the board regarding the superintendent selection process, as well as being a source of information for the new superintendent.

White announced on Jan. 24 that he would resign July 31 to pursue other career opportunities.

After 29 years in education, including 16 as an administrator, he said he would to take time to explore new career challenges. He said he had no immediate plans for employment.

White is in his second year of a three-year contract, with an annual salary of $148,305. His salary and benefits combined total $191,062, according to Valladares.

White began working in the Gahanna schools in 2001 as principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School. In 2008, he was selected to serve as the district's assistant superintendent. He became superintendent two years later, succeeding Gregg Morris, who retired after 14 years as G-J superintendent.