The search for a new superintendent consumed about three-quarters of 2008 in the Olentangy school district.

The search for a new superintendent consumed about three-quarters of 2008 in the Olentangy school district.

The search ended in December when the job went to Wade Lucas.

Lucas, 48, has been superintendent of Green Local Schools in Green, Ohio, in Summit County. The particulars of his contract with Olentangy -- including starting date, salary and benefits -- have not yet been finalized, he said.

The search began in April when then-superintendent Scott Davis announced he would resign. The previous year, Davis had been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The disease attacks motor nerve cells, eventually leading to paralysis and death.

After having seen the district through a successful tax issue -- a combined 7.9-mill operating levy and $90-million bond issue -- on the March ballot, Davis resigned effective April 11.

That month, the board of education appointed assistant superintendent Jenny Hooie as interim superintendent until a new superintendent was hired.

The board also hired a team through the Franklin County Educational Service Center to conduct a search for a superintendent. The search group cost $1,500. The group received 15 applications by the May 12 deadline. Five of the 15 received a first round of interviews.

In June, the list was narrowed to two candidates -- Todd Hoadley, superintendent of Olmsted Falls City Schools in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, and Scot Prebles, superintendent of Granville Exempted Village Schools in Granville, Ohio.

Both candidates went through a second round of interviews with the Olentangy school board, members of the community and the media.

Within days, the two top candidates for the position withdrew their names from consideration. In published reports, both said they didn't feel a move was in their best interest.

In November, the Olentangy board announced it would conduct its next superintendent search in near-secrecy, holding interviews in closed executive sessions with candidates invited to apply by board member Dimon McFerson. Only the top two finalists would be publicly identified by the board, it said.

During their Dec. 9 meeting, board members spent considerable time discussing the hiring process and heard criticism from the public on the closed aspect of the process.

By mid-December, the board announced the two finalists: Lucas and Dean Wittwer of Findlay City Schools in Findlay.

Lucas was selected after a second round of interviews with select community members, the BOE and local media.

Lucas and Wittwer each said they supported the way Olentangy conducted its search.

-- Kelley Youman-Truxall, Candace Preston-Coy and Tom Sheehan contributed to this story.

Wade Lucas