Brownwood school trustees outlined a timetable Monday night that should identify the district’s next superintendent by Feb. 15 and have that person hired by their March 10 board meeting.

The next step in the hiring process will begin Monday next week, when a day-long schedule of meetings will be held by Texas Association of School Board consultants with different school constituencies. Separate meetings with administrators, high school students, support staff, teachers and professional staff, the community and finally board members are designed to develop information trustees will use to develop superintendent criteria.

The town hall meeting at which the public will be invited to attend to offer comments will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in the board room of the central administration office.

Anyone who wants to make comments but cannot attend the meetings may do so online. A form that links to the TSAB office is available on the school district’s Web site, www.brownwoodisd.org. It is currently found on the “school board” page, but officials said they would make it more easily found this week.

“This is a desirable district,” TASB consultant Mayo Neyland told the board Monday. “You’re going to have plenty of applicants.”

Nine applications have already been received by TASB, Neyland said, and the opening effective next June has been posted without criteria.

Dr. Sue Jones announced in September that she will retire from the district as superintendent at the end of June 2008.

Before developing the timeline of 15 different meetings the search will require, Neyland asked the board if a majority already had already decided on a successor to Jones, and if so, the process could end immediately.

“I have no basis for comparison,” trustee Dr. Justin Murphy said. “I do not feel I would be doing my job if we didn’t go through the process.”

Trustees Eric Evans and Roderick Jones, along with other board members, agreed.

“I think we owe it to the taxpayers to make sure we have the best candidate,” trustee Mark Bradshaw said.

Next Monday’s meetings will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue until the final session with the board at 7 p.m. Neyland asked trustees not to attend the other meetings so speakers would not be intimidated by their presence. Administrators will also asked not to attend the session with teachers and professional staff.

Neyland also discussed the role the board wants the current superintendent to play in the search process, and all agreed — and Jones said she would prefer — that she act as a resource for information for the board and applicants, and then bow out when the selection process begins.

The timeline approved by the board calls for applications to be due on Jan. 3, and trustees will narrow the field to five or six within a week. Initial interviews with those individuals will be scheduled during the week of Jan. 21 — two per night — with the group being narrowed to two or three by Jan. 25.

Follow-up interviews, preceded by a social including the spouses of board members and superintendent candidates, will be held the week of Feb. 4 — one per evening.

A “person of interest” will be determined by the board on Feb. 8, and a board committee will visit the home school district of that person on Feb. 12. After the committee reports to the board, the name of the sole finalist will be made public on Feb. 15. The board cannot vote to hire for at least 21 days, and trustees decided they would do that at their regular board meeting March 10.

“It’s important work,” TASB Field Service Representative Joe Dan Lee, who joined Neyland at Monday’s board meeting, said. “I believe it’s the most important thing you’ll do as a board of trustees, selecting your new superintendent.”