SHEFFIELD — Board of Education Chairman Fred Mason said 24 people submitted applications seeking the superintendent position.

Superintendent of Education Tim Morgan announced his retirement in late January. He has been superintendent for the past five years.

Mason said 17 applicants are from Alabama, while the remaining seven are from out of state. Morgan said one principal from north Alabama has applied for the job. He said board members will individually review the applications between now and a special called board meeting.

“We’ll all take a look at them, then meet on April 13 and discuss them,” Mason said.

He said board members will narrow the field down to three to five candidates.

Mason said he also wants to discuss when to begin candidate interviews.

“By the end of the month we’d like to have some decision,” Mason said. “Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.”

Mason, who was not on the board when Morgan was hired, said he expected to receive about 20 applications.

“Five years ago there were 18, so there’s a few more,” Morgan said.

He said the board met with members of the Alabama Association of School Boards, which gave board members pointers for conducting the search. Board members present when Morgan was hired were Steve Hargrove, Polly Ruggles and David Myrick. Mason and Phyllis Meade were appointed after Morgan was hired.

After meeting with association members, the Sheffield board decided to conduct its own search.

Morgan said hiring an outside group to conduct a search can cost $8,000-$12,000.

Morgan said he would assist the board by checking references of the candidates if asked.

“It’s a long, slow process, but you want to be thorough,” he said. “They know I want what’s best for Sheffield.”

Morgan, 56, was one of four candidates interviewed by the board in 2010. He replaced Richard Gardner, who served as superintendent for 11 years.

Morgan was principal of Howell Graves Preschool in Muscle Shoals when he applied for the superintendent position.

He previously worked for the Sheffield schools system until 1996 when he left for an administrative position in the Colbert County system.

“It’s a huge responsibility for the school board to select the right person with the right fit for Sheffield city schools,” he said.

Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com. Follow on Twitter @TD_RussCorey.

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