OK, let's review what the people of Muscogee County are looking for in a new superintendent:
A "people person" who's also a leader, motivator, problem solver, change agent, visionary planner and thinker, and financial wizard.
And what do we expect this person to do?
To skillfully guide a large and complex system, equally serve schools on the north side and the south side, dramatically improve test scores and prospects for students from Title I schools, and free teachers from paperwork and unnecessary policies and programs.
Oh yeah, and deal with a sometimes difficult and petty school board, diffuse racial tension, and navigate a good old boy network while feeling right at home in an urban setting.
That's according to a recent online survey administered by an executive search firm.
But wait, there's more.
Many folks in the community also expect this new superintendent to come at a bargain-basement price.
"We can't afford a $200,000 a year superintendent," one parent wrote.
Let me see if I get this straight: We're looking for a top-shelf executive to lead a staff of more than 6,300 employees responsible for educating more than 32,000 schoolchildren -- our future leaders, workforce members and, yes, potential criminals -- and it bothers us that he or she might make more than $200,000?
Have you looked at CEO salaries lately?
Right now I'm thinking about Nick Saban.
As you probably know, the Alabama head football coach makes more than $5 million a year. His team appears unbeatable and headed toward a third national championship in four seasons.
Here's one thing you won't hear Alabama fans saying these days: "Sure, we're winning, but Coach Saban makes too much money."
Another preseason Top 10 team, Arkansas, is paying its head coach $850,000 this year, less than Alabama pays its defensive coordinator. The Razorbacks have already lost four games.
Here's one thing you won't hear Hogs fans saying these days: "Well, at least we're saving money."
If having a winning educational system is as important to us as we say, then we shouldn't be so intent on saving a buck.
Some people like the idea of promoting someone who's already in our system.
If we go that route, we should do so because he or she is the best person to lead our schools, not because of the money we'd save.
Likewise, if we're going to break the bank and lure the Nick Saban of school superintendents, we'd better make darn sure we're getting our money's worth.
But if he or she's out there, we'd be crazy not to take a shot.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org