The search for a new Baton Rouge Community College chancellor is about to gear up.

Jim Horton moved to Baton Rouge and took over as interim chancellor in July, but the goal is to select a new BRCC chancellor in December, Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Joe May said.

Thus far, former Eatel President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Burgess is the only person to announce his candidacy. But Burgess said Tuesday he only intended to inform friends, some of whom leaked the announcement of his candidacy.

The advertised final day to apply is Wednesday, but the Association of Community College Trustees hired to handle the search is waiting to hand over any applications received thus far, May said.

“Right now, I haven’t heard anyone who’s applied except apparently Robert Burgess,” May said Tuesday. “But virtually every one of them (applications) comes in on the last day.”

In an email response, Burgess said, “There is an effective process in place for the chancellor’s search and it is just beginning. I will have to earn my way through several difficult steps against outstanding candidates.”

Horton retired at the end of June as the president of Yavapai College in northern Arizona. He vowed not to seek the job beyond the interim.

Horton replaced Myrtle Dorsey, who left BRCC in early July to become the new chancellor of St. Louis Community College.

While the goal is to hire a new chancellor in December and have that person start in January, May said the timeline could be adjusted if needed.

“We’re looking for the right person, not just any person,” May said.

The plan is to soon name a screening committee of BRCC faculty, administrators, community members and others to help select and interview the finalists who visit campus, May said.

There also will be public forums with the finalists, May said. “It’s a wide-open process,” he said.

May said he is optimistic there will be top-notch applicants for the chancellor vacancies at BRCC and South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette.

“Both of these are generating a lot of national interest … so I’m expecting a very good pool,” May said. “The economy is actually working in our favor. With budget cuts in other states, people are seeing now is maybe the right time to make a move.”

As for Horton — who May reiterated is not a candidate to stay — May said he is doing a “great job” managing BRCC’s growth and overseeing the upcoming expansion — a transportation and automotive training satellite campus in the Smiley Heights area of Baton Rouge.

Horton also is working with Mayor Kip Holden’s office to tweak plans for upcoming road construction in the middle of campus to redirect BRCC’s traffic and make it a more pedestrian-friendly campus, May said.