OKOLONA, Miss. (WTVA) -- A public forum was held Thursday evening for parents in Okolona interested in the selection of a new superintendent for the city schools.
"Let us build a future for Okolona High School that is so bright that when people look at it, they will have to wear shades," said Russell Brooks, a parent who helped to sponsor the event.
The superintendent that will be hired will lead a district that is nearing the end of a three-year takeover by the state.
"Well, we're going to begin reviewing the applications tomorrow, which is March 1. Tomorrow morning, we have a work session. And hopefully within about 30 days, we will have completed the process," said school board president Jerome Smith.
The process includes the public forum held in the high school cafeteria.
Residents were given index cards to write questions they may have had for nine applicants looking to become the next leader.
"We're hoping to find an honest and valuable superintendent that loves the kids and their agenda is success for the school district," said Marsha Gates, a member of the Parents for Public Education organization.
"Also, with the new superintendent coming aboard, there are two things that are important. One is that he must be a good financial manager, and second thing is he must be able to increase the teachers' teaching and the students' grades," said Brooks.
State conservator Mac Curlee said he sees the district doing well and moving forward. He believes the time is at hand that the district can operate on its own.
"I think the school board will make a good decision as far as the next superintendent. They're listening to the community, they're listening to parents, they're getting feedback and input. So I think the school board is going to make a good decision," said Curlee, who was also in attendance.
Curlee said the board has scheduled interviews with all of the candidates that have met the requirements.
On March 17, the board will interview three finalists in a public forum.