The Manhattan School Board is gearing up to hire a new superintendent now that Jerry Pease has announced he will leave top post in July.

The board has hired the Montana School Boards Association to do the heavy lifting on a search, board chair Rob Brownell said. The district will shell out roughly $5,500 for the service.

The association will advertise the job, perform background checks on potential candidates and play a role in salary negotiations, Brownell said.

“They will basically run the fine details of it,” he said.

At the same time, the district and MTSBA will gather information from a Manhattanites — teachers, residents, students and other stakeholders.

“We’ll put all that stuff together and use the information to form questions that each of the groups want to ask,” he said. “Our board just doesn’t have the time and knowledge to get all that information together. I think we will get a good turnout to lead our district.”

Board vice-chair Ed Brainard has been a trustee for three decades and the upcoming hire will be the fifth superintendent hired on his watch. The board veteran said he is not looking for someone to fill a specific task, like a budgetary focus or a great communicator.

“As far I’m concerned, we’ve always had well-rounded superintendents, so to say that we are going to hire one to do this or to do that, well, in my experience, the cream always comes to the top,” he said. “There’s always one that surfaces. We’ve had awful good luck with the first four hires.”

Even though the job carries a lot of weight, Brainard said the hiring process is generally worry free.

“It’s funny because when you get down to the last two or four, there’s always a couple that stick out and you have to find which one is the best fit for the district,” he said.

After seven years at the helm, Pease will leave his position June 30 and will teach at Montana State University this fall. The 61-year-old will teach graduate students seeking endorsements for administration positions in the MSU education department.

Trustees will meet March 24 to discuss the finer nuances of the job, Brownell said.