The Livingston Parish school system will begin its search for a new superintendent sooner than expected, following Superintendent John Watson’s announcement Monday that he will retire at the end of June, six months before his contract’s end date.

Watson, who took over as superintendent in 2012 following the retirement of Bill Spear, said Monday he had no intention of asking for another four years and wants to give the School Board time to find a replacement before the 2016-17 school year begins.

“My feelings are that it’s best for all concerned if this occurs during the summer,” Watson said. “I don’t know that they will hire from within, but if they do, this will allow those dominoes to stop falling before school starts.”

The School Board will discuss a timetable for the search and selection of a new superintendent at its meeting Thursday night.

Watson has worked in the Livingston Parish school system since 1983, when he began as a teacher and coach at Denham Springs High School. He later served as assistant principal at Live Oak High School and Westside Junior High, principal at Levi Milton Elementary and Walker High, as well as supervisor of instruction and human resources supervisor.

He served as an assistant superintendent from 2007 to 2011, when he was unanimously selected from among four finalists for the position of superintendent.

Watson said Monday that he has enjoyed his 33 1/2 years working in Livingston Parish schools.

“There’s no better place to work, and I will miss it,” he said.

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