PORTLAND — More than 150 people have applied to become superintendent of the city’s public schools.

The committee that’s leading the search for Jim Morse’s successor received 159 applications – nearly 16 times more than the 10 applications that came in when Morse was hired for the job in 2009.

“We have attracted what looks to be a large and talented group of applicants from all over the country,” said Sarah Thompson, a school board member who heads the search committee.

The board was expected to choose semifinalists in a private meeting Tuesday night, according to a news release. The board will interview semifinalists on April 28 and May 1, and interview finalists on May 14 and 15. Board members will visit finalists’ school districts during the week of May 21 and announce the new superintendent by mid-June.

Morse announced in October that he will retire when his three-year contract expires at the end of June. His annual salary is $131,500.

In February, Morse accepted a superintendent’s position in New Hampshire, where he will head the Oyster River School District.

When Morse took the job in Portland, Maine’s largest school district was recovering from a budget crisis that led the previous superintendent to resign.

In announcing his plan to leave Portland, Morse said he had no idea how “broken” the school district was when he became superintendent, but he had done the “hard work of transformation” that would enable the district to excel under his replacement.

According to the news release, 34 percent of the 159 applicants are superintendents and 12 percent are assistant superintendents. Nearly 70 percent work in districts smaller than Portland, which has about 7,000 students, and nearly 25 percent work in larger districts.

About one-quarter of the applicants have current or past ties to Maine.


Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]