Barry Walker worked in the South Summit School District for 26 years, eight of those spent as the superintendent of schools, before announcing his retirement last month. Now, the district's Board of Education is working to find a replacement before Walker's last day of work on June 30.

School board president Craig Hicken said the district will be accepting applications for the position through April 10. They are hoping to hire the best possible candidate with the help of the Utah School Board Association (USBA) by July 1.

According to South Summit School District human resources specialist Cameron Whiting, applications are being accepted by the USBA, which will then canvass the applications and send the ones they feel are best to the South Summit school board for consideration.

"[The USBA] is helping us canvass candidate applications," Hicken said. "They are also providing us with their expertise after having helped several districts with the selection of their superintendents."

Whiting said he hopes the USBA will help the board find a replacement with a unique vision and a desire to lift the district to greater heights, but he is leaving that decision in what he said are the board of education's capable hands.

"That is for the board to decide," he said. "It's up to them to figure out which direction they want to look in for a new superintendent."

Hicken said they are looking both internally and externally with the objective to find the best candidate they can for the job, whether they find that person within the school district or not. Whiting then added that the USBA and the South Summit school board are conducting a "western U.S." search.

"We certainly want a quality individual that can keep our district going in the right direction and help us plan for the future," Hicken said. "Above everything, the board is dedicated to finding the best individual we can for the district."

If they enlist help from the faculty or the community, Whiting said that will happen later on down the road. As of now, there is no such committee in place, and he is unsure if it will be created or not.

Walker also has his own opinions on who he hopes will take his place as the leader of his hometown school district. After announcing his retirement, he said he hopes the board will find an individual with experience and expertise as well as new thoughts and ideas on what improvements can be made to better the district.

However, he said his contribution to the selection of the new superintendent is minimal. He is leaving it to the school board and the human resources department to find his replacement.

Hicken said the school board is hoping the new superintendent will help them achieve the goals they have for the district, but he is anticipating the person they select for the job will also have some goals of their own. He added that whoever they select has some big shoes to fill.

"The board has been very pleased with Mr. Walker," Hicken said. "He has been very dedicated to our district, and he did a great job. I wish him the very best in his retirement, and that is pretty much the feeling of the whole board."