Anyone interested in leading the embattled Marlin Independent School District has about a month to submit an application to the district’s superintendent search firm.

The Marlin ISD Board of Managers agreed Friday to establish an April 10 deadline for all superintendent applications after meeting with its search firm, Education Solutions and Services, which is based in the Panhandle.

The goal is to have a new superintendent in place by June 1, although that date is flexible, said Letha Hopkins, an associate with Education Solutions and Services.

Jean Bahney, a state appointee, is serving as Marlin ISD’s interim superintendent. After former Superintendent Michael Seabolt resigned Aug. 8, state Education Commissioner Mike Morath appointed Bahney to serve as superintendent for no longer than this school year, according to an Aug. 26 letter to the board and school district.

Seabolt resigned two months after the state-appointed board of managers suspended him and launched a district-level investigation into his performance at the direction of Bahney, the state-appointed conservator at the time. Seabolt is now under investigation by the Texas Rangers for allegations of misuse of public funds and ethics violations.

The Texas Education Agency has flagged Seabolt’s educator certificates, but they remain valid, according to the TEA website.

The board of managers hired Education Solutions and Services at its Jan. 27 board meeting. The firm limits its superintendent searches to Texas, posting positions only to its website and to websites for the Region 12 Education Service Center, Texas Association of School Administrators and Marlin ISD, along with TexasISD.com, a resource and information site for educators.

The position will be posted shortly on those websites, Hopkins said.

The firm will receive the applications, and Marlin ISD has posted an online survey on its homepage, seeking input on qualities the next superintendent should have. Hopkins said the firm also accepts feedback via email or phone.

After the April 10 deadline, Education Solutions and Services will take about a week to review the applications before submitting them to the board, Hopkins said. From there, the firm will help guide the three board members through the process of selecting the candidates they want to interview, making recommendations when appropriate. Hopkins said there are generally two rounds of interviews.

“We’re here to serve and help them,” she said.

In fall 2016, Morath announced he would replace the Marlin ISD elected board of trustees with a state-appointed board of managers and promote the state-assigned monitor to a conservator, after the district failed accountability standards for five consecutive years. Conservators have the power to direct the board and oversee the general administration of the district.

TEA installed the board of managers at Marlin ISD in February 2017.

In January 2019, Morath extended the appointment of the board of managers for another two years, citing a “lack of improvement” at the district.

Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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