Leaders in the Whitehall City School District's search for a new superintendent are looking for staff and community input.

Leaders in the Whitehall City School District's search for a new superintendent are looking for staff and community input.

Community focus groups were held Jan. 9 at the district offices, with separate time frames to accommodate different groups. One forum was for district administrators, followed by a forum for classified staff, one for certified staff and a final one for the community.

According to Kathy LaSota, director of school board services for OSBA, the discussions were focused on major issues facing the district in the next three to five years, as well as professional qualities, skills and experience essential for a superintendent's success and personal characteristics essential in the next superintendent.

LaSota said she would provide school board members with a detailed account of the conversations to help them in their screening and selection process.

Longtime Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy earlier this year announced her plans to retire after 13 years with the district.

Dobbert-Meloy handed board members her letter of resignation in August during an executive session meant to discuss her annual review. She said she would not leave, though, until the district's construction project is completed and the final building, Whitehall-Yearling High School, has been dedicated.

As part of the search being conducted by the Ohio School Boards Association, LaSota said, marketing materials and job information have been sent to more than 3,000 entities in Ohio and other parts of the country, including public school districts, higher-education institutions and other education-related agencies, along with individuals who have shown interest in the area in an effort to net the perfect match for Whitehall.

As part of that search, she also would like to gather input from those closest to the district -- its teachers and stakeholders -- in an effort to help with the selection process.

Applications for the superintendent's position are being accepted through Jan. 16, LaSota said, with screenings set for late January at the OSBA offices.

LaSota is expected to return to school board members by Jan. 24 with a list of eight to 10 solid candidates. She said the school board then would conduct interviews Jan. 30 through Feb. 22, with the hopes of making a final selection by March 15.

Those who were unable to attend the forums but would like to provide input may email LaSota at klasota@ohioschoolboards.org.