The Northridge school board is ready to begin interviewing candidates for a new superintendent this week.

The Northridge school board is ready to begin interviewing candidates for a new superintendent this week.

"We're pretty much staying on schedule," said board member Doug Hart, who added that board members hope to make an offer to the chosen candidate by the middle of December.

Superintendent John Shepard resigned Sept. 14, but he will remain with the district as educational operations consultant for the remainder his current contract, which expires July 31. Shepard will work primarily from home.

George Tombaugh, assistant superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, is serving as interim superintendent during the search. He was hired for a per-diem rate of $425.

Hart said Tombaugh is not a candidate for a permanent position.

Board President Mark Dann said 33 people applied for the superintendent position.

"It was across the board," he said of the applicants, from very experienced candidates to those seeking their first superintendent position.

Dann said the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio "has done a superb job" helping Northridge find candidates.

Of the 33 candidates, six will be interviewed in a first round of interviews Nov. 26 and 27. The six are:

* John Granger, superintendent of Anthony Wayne Local Schools in Whitehouse.

* Darren Jenkins, a consultant and a former superintendent of the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center in Tiffin.

* James Jones, superintendent of the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities in Ashland.

* Matthew Lutz, executive director of education for the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center in Mansfield.

* Gregory Pollock, director of business affairs for the Aurora City Schools in Aurora.

* Richard Spindler Jr., superintendent of Zane Trace Local Schools in Chillicothe.

Hart said he is pleased with the quality of the candidates.

"We wouldn't waste time interviewing people we didn't think were up to the job," he said.

But there's no guarantee the chosen candidate will accept the job, either.

"We're not a top-end district for salaries," Hart said.

He said he was surprised at the number of people who applied for the position, considering that the search is being conducted in the middle of the school year.

"Dr. Tombaugh predicted there would be many candidates," Hart said. "He was right."