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ANDERSON — The Anderson Community Schools board of trustees has taken its next step in filling the superintendent’s position that was vacated nearly a year ago when Timothy Smith left under mysterious circumstances.

The board last week posted the position in various places, including Facebook, the Indiana Department of Education, and state and national education and superintendent and education associations. Applications must be postmarked by Feb. 13.

Board Vice President Jeff Barranco, who is coordinating the effort, said he expects most submissions to come from within Indiana and the Midwest.

“We did include items that were in the survey from the community,” he said. “Applicants can look at full results of the survey.”

The board will meet Feb. 27 for an initial review of applications and to select candidates to interview in March. According to the published timeline, the board also hopes to select a final candidate and meet to collect public comment on the contract that will be offered.

A new superintendent is expected to fill the position starting July 1.

The board generated some controversy when it initially decided to offer the permanent position to interim Superintendent Joe Cronk without a search. Board members claimed they offered him the job to maintain continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, several members of the community objected, saying they weren’t convinced Cronk would be the best person for the position because even though he has worked for the district 30 years, he has little experience as a classroom educator. In addition, they said, no attempt was made to find someone who had experience and better reflected the diverse student makeup of the urban district.

Following what they say is the recommendation of the Indiana School Boards Association, the ACS board has opted to keep control of the process rather than delegating it to a consultant, such as Ball State University.

Lindsay Brown, a frequent critic of the ACS board and the superintendent replacement process, said he doesn’t really agree with that because most of the board members don’t have the expertise to understand what makes a good superintendent.

“As a leader, you should know what your abilities are and be comfortable with it. If something is outside your realm, you should seek help with something to accomplish it, especially if other people are impacted by it,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know what you’re looking for in a superintendent or any other position.”

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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