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DCSS superintendent position attracts over 30 applicants

ALBANY -- Applicants for Dougherty County School System's next superintendent reside in 12 states and one calls the United Kingdom home.

Georgians make up 56 percent of the 39 applicants, with 22 in-state applicants to become Dougherty County's 14th superintendent since 1885. The position attracted 14 applications in its first two weeks.

Eight-year Superintendent Sally Whatley announced her retirement in late August. Whatley will remain on the job until the Dougherty County Board of Education replaces her.

Georgia School Boards Association Consultant Bill Sampson conducted the national search for the board from early October until Nov. 24.

Sampson said GSBA officials sent out 1,318 information

announcements about the position to various organizations and people.

Besides Georgia and the United Kingdom, three applicants live in South Carolina and two each hail from Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama. Kansas, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma and California were the other states where applicants reside.

"There were four applicants nominated and three of them submitted applications," Sampson said.

Board Chairman David Maschke said he was happy with the number of applications.

"I was very pleased because I was hoping for at least 30 candidates to ensure that we'd have a large enough pool and that we'd have the best opportunity to find the best person for the position," Maschke said. "I thought we had a good mix. Georgia respondents were a little over half, but we had a good number of out-of-state applicants."

Breaking down the degrees the applicants hold, 19 have attained doctorates of education, or Ed.D. degrees; 10 hold Ph.D.s; five have an educational specialist degree; three carry a master's; one has a juris doctorate, and one applicant's degree level was unknown.

Six of the applicants are currently superintendents and five are assistant superintendents. Three applicants are either directors, principals or consultants, and two are former superintendents. Other applicants were an assistant principal, a retired superintendent, an assistant professor, an executive director, an attorney, a coordinator, an executive assistant and an associate superintendent.

"I'm pleased we got 39 candidates for the school system," board member Emily Jean McAfee said. "If we had 200, we wouldn't be considering 200 anyway ... I'm seeing it working the way it's supposed to work. I'm (happy with) GSBA's work. I think their professionalism is serving us well."

Michael Windom, the longest tenured board member, said the 39 applicants was significantly larger than in 1995 -- the last time the board conducted a superintendent search.

"I don't remember exactly, but I assure you it wasn't 39," he said. "It might of been 15-20 because we just did a Southeastern search. I'm pleasantly surprised, but I did anticipate a good number since we did do the search differently because we looked for superintendent and educational experience, but also CEO experience and military experience so we could get a higher caliber of leadership."

The Dougherty County School Board will go over the applications in a meeting with Sampson at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 10 in the Administration

Building's board room. Maschke is predicting the meeting will take about two-three hours for the initial review of applications with subsequent meetings of the board needed to narrow the pool of applicants and to conduct a more detailed review.

Sampson reported that the online superintendent qualifications survey attracted 744 responses and 15 mailed responses. The survey concluded Nov. 24.