Criteria for applicants for the position of superintendent of the Brownwood Independent School District are expected to be posted today on a state education Web site, after trustees approved the statement Friday.

“I’m somewhat surprised,” Texas Association of School Boards consultant Mayo Neyland said at a noon meeting. “You have 24 now, and the criteria haven’t been posted. “I think you’ll have 35 to 40 applications, easy.”

Applications will be accepted through the association until Jan. 3, 2008, and Brownwood trustees have scheduled a Jan. 10 meeting to review them and choose a handful of applicants to interview.

Before approving the criteria proposed by the consultants with two modifications, the board heard a report from Neyland and TASB field representative Joe Dan Lee on the findings comments received from a day of focus group meetings held Nov. 19. Members of the community, high school students, school administrators and school educators, staff and trustees were among those asked to detail the district’s strengths; the challenges, issues and needs it faces; and the characteristics desired in the new superintendent.

Neyland said 86 people participated in the project, including 29 who filled in a form on the TASB’s Web site.

“We think 86 is a pretty good cross-section,” Neyland said.

The report offered a collection of consistent comments heard multiple times in the meetings, as well as the other observances which were less universal.

“You guys are in good shape” Neyland said in summarizing the report. “You’ve got esprit, pride. People are pleased with the academic achievements you’re making. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve, but you’re on the right track. There’s optimism.”

The major issue that seems to be looming for the district was unspoken, Neyland said.

“It concerns who is the person who is going to follow Sue (current superintendent Dr. Sue Jones),” Neyland said. “You all are at the top of the game, and the next person is going to have to follow a very tough role model. There’s concern that the person will upset the apple cart. I guess what they’re telling us is that they’re not looking for a change agent.”

Neyland said he used those comments to develop a proposed nine-item criteria for the board’s consideration, and trustees decided to make two modifications. They added the phrase “but not required” after an item that states a terminal degree is preferred. In another item, the board added the words “or assistant superintendent” when describing desired previous experience that showed “superintendent.”

Sue Jones announced in September that she would retire as superintendent in the summer of 2008.