The Northridge Board of Education approved a two-year contract for its next treasurer, James Hudson, during a special meeting last Monday.

The Northridge Board of Education approved a two-year contract for its next treasurer, James Hudson, during a special meeting last Monday.

Hudson, of Howard, currently works as an audit manager in the performance audit section of the state auditor's office.

His two-year contract with Northridge at an annual salary of $63,000 will begin on June 21 and continue through July 31, 2012.

"This is a smaller district, and I like that atmosphere," Hudson told The Independent. "I have done an audit of Northridge. I think there will be opportunities for the Northridge schools and the community."

Through his position at the auditor's office, Hudson performed audits of school districts large and small.

"You really get to know the people and work with them on a daily basis in the smaller districts," he said. "I definitely like the atmosphere of the smaller districts."

Hudson increased his understanding of a school treasurers' office through an interactive internship program with the North Fork Local School District about a year and a half ago.

Through his work with the auditor's office and that internship program, he said, he knew he wanted to become a school treasurer.

Superintendent John Shepard said Hudson will be an excellent addition to the Northridge staff.

"He brings a strong background in school finance and operations from the audit perspective," Shepard said. "He has experience in smaller districts and understands the challenges facing schools today."

Hudson has worked the past five years in the Auditor of State's Office. During that time he has completed performance audits in diverse settings including school, city, county and state entities.

He holds a school treasurer/business manager license and is a graduate of Ashland University, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2003.

The board also approved hiring Hudson as a consultant on an as-needed basis at $30 per hour until he begins full time in June.

Board president Lee Hatfield estimates Hudson will be paid as a consultant for a total of 35 to 45 hours.

"We want to make sure there's a good, effective transition," Hatfield said.

Dr. Nelson McCray, of the Licking County Educational Service Center, assisted the district with the search since former treasurer Felicia Drummey resigned on March 5 to accept the treasurer's position at Big Walnut schools.

McCray said 11 candidates applied for the position, of which five semi-finalists were interviewed, followed by three finalist interviews on April 23.

The interviews with the finalists included the board, a staff committee and community representatives from the district's finance committee.

Heath's Joanne Little has been serving as the district's interim treasurer.