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The newly sworn in Livingston Parish School Board includes, from left to right, Devin Gregoire, of Albany; David 'Bo' Graham, of Walker; Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson, of Watson; Frank Parrino, of Springfield; Jeff Cox, of Walker; Buddy Mincey Jr., of Denham Springs; Jan Benton, of Denham Springs; Bradley Harris, of Denham Springs; and Brad Sharp of Livingston.

LIVINGSTON — A new superintendent will be selected before the Easter holiday break, Livingston Parish School Board President Buddy Mincey said Thursday night.

The school system began searching after Superintendent Rick Wentzel announced Feb. 21 that he was retiring at the end of the school year, in a move that shocked some board members and school administrators.

The new superintendent is expected to take over April 29, according to a procedure presented by Mincey and approved by the board Thursday. 

Top administrators are already jockeying for the job that has been given, for at least the last four superintendents, to an internal candidate. But the board is likely to receive some external applicants. 

The school board advertised the opening in the Livingston Parish News, The Advocate, the Louisiana School Boards Association, Teach Louisiana and the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents. The job was not posted on any national boards, and the School Board has not hired a search firm as some other school districts do.

"We did what we felt was appropriate … what was done in the past," Mincey said in an interview after the meeting.

Résumés will be accepted through March 29.

The school board will conduct public interviews of qualified applicants April 15. If not all applicants can be interviewed that day, there will be extra sessions over the next two days.

Mincey said candidates will be interviewed based on when they submit their applications: Those who submit first will be interviewed last and vice versa.

Each candidate will be asked the same questions from a selected set, and applicants will be sequestered before their one-hour interviews. 

A vote will be taken on April 18 during an open session of the school board. 

Wentzel will stay on as a consultant through the end of May to help transition the new superintendent into the role. He will retire officially on June 15, taking accumulated leave time for the last weeks.

Also Thursday night, the board:

  • Announced a public viewing of renderings for the new Denham Springs Elementary School to be held March 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the temporary campus at 401 Hatchell Lane.
  • Approved a notice of substantial completion for the demolition of the flooded Denham Springs Elementary School.
  • Approved the purchase of 22 new school buses at a cost of $2 million.

Follow Caroline Grueskin on Twitter, @cgrueskin.