PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One week after superintendent Dr. William Hite announced he will not be renewing his contract with the School District of Philadelphia, school boards members are already delving into finding his replacement. CBS3 spoke with the School Board president Wednesday about what they’re looking for in a new leader and how the public will help guide their search.

“It’s a process that we’re excited to launch,” Board of Education President Joyce Wilkerson said.

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The process of finding a new superintendent to lead the Philadelphia School District is about to kick into high gear. Hite announced last week that he will be leaving at the end of his contract in August 2022, after nearly a decade.

“The average tenure for a major city superintendent is only two to three years,” Wilkerson said.

Eyewitness News sat down with Wilkerson in an exclusive interview to discuss the selection process. The first step is engaging the public in multiple information sessions.

“We’re going to have 17 listening sessions over 18 days,” Wilkerson said. “We’re going to have the search firm hired by the end of this month and hope to begin getting resumes from potential candidates by November.”

Public input and transparency will help to guide the search for the person who will step into leading the fourth-largest public school district in the country, battling aging infrastructure, an ongoing pandemic, and student academic challenges.

“We’re going to be looking for superintendents that are effective communicators,” Wilkerson said. “We have a really diverse community in Philadelphia. Each neighborhood is different from the one next to it, and so we want someone who will engage with the public.”

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A professional search firm will help direct school board members to qualified candidates both nationally and locally.

“We know we have wonderful educators in Philadelphia so while we’re casting the net broadly, we’re going to also be very receptive to local candidates,” Wilkerson said.

The Board of Education hopes to have Hite’s successor selected by April, intentionally creating an overlap for a smooth transition.

“I’m nervous about the transition. I’m excited about bringing in a different set of eyes to look at the challenges we have,” Wilkerson said.

The school board will hold its first listening session on Monday, Oct. 11, at 12 p.m. in partnership with the Urban League of Philadelphia.

Sixteen others will take place over 18 days.

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Students, parents, teachers, and community leaders are encouraged to attend both in-person and virtually. For more information on where and when the meetings will be held, click here.