The bigger you are, the slower you move. That applies to just about everything except maybe SEC defensive linemen. It certainly applies to the Muscogee County School District.
As you probably know, superintendent Susan Andrews announced her retirement about eight months ago. Six months ago, the district chose an executive search firm. Five months ago, Andrews officially retired and former superintendent John Phillips Jr. took the job on an interim basis.
Last week, the firm announced that 22 candidates have applied for the job. On Monday, the board meets with the firm to decide which of those candidates to interview. By the end of December, it should have a final decision.
This is in stark contrast to a couple of superintendent searches in north Georgia.
Last week, the school board in Rome announced it had narrowed its list of candidates to three, and would make a decision by the end of this month, before superintendent Gayland Cooper retires in December.
Cooper has held the job for nearly 10 years. According to the radio station WRGA, school board members cried at Cooper's last school board meeting and gave him a standing ovation.
Meanwhile, the school district in Floyd County, home of Rome, just completed a superintendent search of its own. Lynn Plunkett retires at the end of the month and will be replaced by her chief of academics, whom she called one of her "work husbands," according to the Rome News-Tribune.
Plunkett has been superintendent for more than seven years. She told the school board in her final meeting that "you will always be friends of mine."
"I can tell you without reservation," she continued, "this has been one of the most awesome experiences of my life. And if I had to do all over again, I'd do the very same thing."
Ah, the small town life!
Susan Andrews, you may remember, was the superintendent of Harris County Schools for nine years. In 2007, she was the state superintendent of the year and a finalist for national superintendent of the year.
In 2009, she took the job in Muscogee County, which has six times as many students. She announced her retirement after slightly more than three years, and she did not say it was one of the most awesome experiences of her life.
Here we are, eight months later. The transition from one superintendent to another has gone much more smoothly and quickly for Floyd County (10,000 students) and the City of Rome (5,500 students) than it has here in Muscogee County (32,000 students).
No big surprise. We're much bigger, so we face much bigger and more complex challenges. And the most important challenge at the moment is choosing the right leader.
That was quick and easy for Floyd and Rome. Around here, nothing's that quick and easy, and in this case we're right to take it slow.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.