The search is on.

Advertisements seeking people interested in serving as the next East Baton Rouge Parish school superintendent are slated to start appearing this week.

The official application period started Saturday and ends in December.

The candidate chosen by the School Board will take over in July after Superintendent John Dilworth finishes his three-year contract.

Dilworth announced in May he would not stay beyond his contract.

A less visible recruiting effort by PROACT, the search firm hired by the school system, has been going on for a few weeks.

Board President Barbara Freiberg said Friday that Gary Solomon, PROACT’s chief executive officer, told her he had spoken to 200 potential candidates about the superintendent’s position.

Freiberg said the first ads are to appear in Education Week and through the American Association of School Administrators.

Solomon has said in some cases, ads will be only in the online version of a publication.

PROACT has a page on its website for the search: http://proactsearch.com/east-baton-rouge-superintenden/.

It plans to link to it from the school system’s web page.

The 17 job qualifications are listed at: http://proactsearch.com/storage/pp/EBRpp.pdf.

Solomon said he expects between 100 and 140 people will apply for the job; his team will start narrowing that field in mid-November.

Solomon originally suggested giving the board a slate of seven to 12 candidates by Dec. 7 with interviews to follow.

Freiberg said those dates may be too close to the holidays, and she is considering pushing back the interviews to early January.

The board then would narrow the slate of candidates, who are being described as semifinalists, to a smaller group of finalists who could return for a second, more extensive round of interviews, she said.

In a Sept. 15 presentation to the School Board, Solomon promised openness and transparency — to a point.

“I want to work to satisfy the needs of the community and protect the candidates as well because I certainly don’t want to put them at risk,” he said.

Solomon said his caution in releasing too much information about the candidates too early in the selection process stems from his desire not to disrupt the candidates’ lives any more than he has to.

Board member Jerry Arbour, board president during the 2009 search that led to Dilworth’s hiring, asked Solomon when the public can see the candidate applications.

“The community is going to be interested,” Arbour said. “They’re going to want to know and I would like to know.”

Solomon said in speaking with Domoine Rutledge, general counsel for the school system, “It is our understanding that every candidate who officially fills out an application to be the superintendent in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, their names have to be released to the public domain.”

Solomon said the candidates officially apply when he gets clearance from them and after that happens he will promptly make public their applications.

“We just need from (the applicants) their final assurances that they are committed to the process and committed to the school system and they want to be considered a candidate,” Solomon said.

Before they get to that point, the candidates will go through “eight levels of screening,” he said.

Along the way, PROACT will develop a paper trail on each candidate, including the initial application, résumé and credentials, prescreening test results, evaluations of their internal interview and the results of a leadership assessment, Solomon said.

In the 2004 and 2009 superintendent searches, the search firm Hazard, Young & Attea released some applications publicly as they came in, but all of the finalists were released at the last minute.

In 2004, the three finalists were unveiled on the opening night of candidate interviews.