Some 574 people, largely teachers and parents, sent in their wish list for the top qualities they’d like to see in the next Ascension Parish schools superintendent, the board’s consultant said Thursday.

It’s a high number of responses, said Bill Newman with the Ray and Associates search firm, of Iowa, a number that indicates a high interest in the process of hiring a replacement for former superintendent Patrice Pujol, who retired in February.

“You have almost 600 people responding,” Newman said of the survey which kept the names of the respondents anonymous. “We’ve had 80,000-student districts and have had 400 responses.”

The Ascension Parish school district, which has approximately 22,000 students, will begin advertising the position locally and nationally by next week, using the scores that 574 people gave to a list of 33 qualities they’d like to see in the next superintendent.

Ranked first is strong communication skills, followed by a willingness to listen to input but at the same time being a decision maker.

Other qualities ranked high are the ability to inspire trust and being strongly committed to a “student first” philosophy in all decisions.

Newman said, in a phone conference at Thursday’s board meeting, that of the 574 respondents to the survey, which was available through April 11 on the board’s website and in paper form at schools, the largest group were teachers, at 299. The next largest group were parents, at 117.

Of the next schools superintendent, board President Pat Russo said, “We’re looking for someone that has a vision.”