PEPPERELL -- The North Middlesex Regional School District is searching for a new superintendent.
Joan Landers, who has served in the position since 2012, will step down after her contract ends at the end of June. She notified the School Committee that she would not seek reappointment in October.
"I am extremely honored to have been in this position," she said during a Wednesday interview. "It has been a wonderful experience and it's been wonderful working with a dedicated staff. The students are just absolutely wonderful, they really are."
Landers came to the district from Wakefield, where she also served as superintendent.
She is looking at other educational opportunities, including working as district superintendent of a single town or city, at a private school, and or in special education, which is where she started her career.
Landers considers the completion of a new building for North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend one of her accomplishments.
The $89.1 million projected started in 2005. Construction began in 2015 and the new facility opened in August 2017. Demolition on the old building is ongoing.
She hopes hopes the new space will have a long term, positive affect on learning in the community.
Collaboration between town leaders and the community in Pepperell, Townsend, and Ashby has been the key to identifying what the district's schools need, Landers said.
Pepperell Town Manager Mark Andrews said he has worked with Landers on budgeting and repairs for schools. He credits her ability to bring in state money to repair the roof, windows, and doors at Varnum Brook Elementary.
"She's never lost sight of the bottom line, which is the students," Andrews said.
To pick Landers' successor, the School Committee plans to hear from community members about what they are looking for in a new superintendent.
Focus groups for school administration and students will take place at the high school on Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., respectively.
The next step is to pick members for the Screening Committee.
Representatives from the schools and community will be appointed to look at applications, interview candidates, and recommend several finalists for the School Committee to review, s
Between 12 and 15 members will be appointed to the Screening Committee Feb. 10, said Randee Rusch, chair of the School Committee.
The School Committee plans to interview finalists by the end of March, Rusch said. The community will have the opportunity to meet with the candidates through an open forum, she said.