The firm helping the Reynoldsburg school board search for a new superintendent expects to review 20 to 30 applications for the position.

Ed Vittardi from Finding Leaders said the application deadline was Feb. 28.

Board President Joe Begeny said school board members will meet with Finding Leaders representatives at 8 a.m. March 11 at the board office, 7244 E. Main St. They then will go into executive session to discuss the applications.

Residents will get another chance to provide more input for the search, Begeny said.

"We expect to have multiple focus group meetings before our selection," he said. "The final candidates will answer questions from the community at a public forum. We hope to have a new superintenent hired by May 1."

The school board voted last September not to renew Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning's contract.

The district will pay Thomas-Manning through the end of her contract, which doesn't expire until July 31. According to Treasurer Tammy Miller, that would amount to $48,150 from May 1 through July 31.

Vittardi said the search timeline to select a new superintendent extends through the end of April.

"We will hold first-round interviews in early March, then by the middle of March, the school board will be given recommendations on semifinalist candidates for interviews to be held in late March or early April," he said. "Final-round interviews will include members of stakeholder groups engaged with the finalists."

He said although it would appear residents are not hearing a lot about the search at this time, the consulting firm will be "very active" in recruiting, researching and interviewing candidates.

"We are committed to utilizing community input to help find the best superintendent for the school district," Vittardi said.

Vittardi supervised 10 focus group sessions last month, asking community members and district staffers to identify what's good about the district, what makes it unique and what its "hot buttons" are.

He said he enjoyed working with the focus groups and has gathered vital information on what the community wants to see from applicants for the district's top job.

"The focus group results aid us in both the interview and recruitment process," he said. "They present for us threads of consistency in developing the profile for the right superintendent for Reynoldsburg schools.

"The passion from the community for the schools is an incredible asset," Vittardi added. "The position is a very appealing opportunity for interested superintendent candidates."