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The District 209 school board has restarted its search for a candidate to succeed outgoing Supt. Jesse Rodriguez, who is leaving in June to take the superintendent position at Zion-Benton Township High School District 126.

With the help of executive search firm Ray and Associates, the district had whittled a nationwide pool of roughly 45 applicants down to three finalists before suspending the search process and going back to the drawing board, according to Ned Wagner, the outgoing school board president.

Board member Rodney Alexander will replace Wagner as board president in May. Member Claudia Medina was elected board vice president while Amanda Grant was elected secretary. The board elected new officers at its regular meeting on April 14.

“After our last round of interviews, we let it gestate in our collective mind and we realized we didn’t find anyone who is a perfect fit and so we reopened the application process,” Wagner said on April 25. Wagner said the position was reposted on Monday and applications will be accepted until June 5.

Wagner declined to go into detail about why the board started the process over again, but he said that input from community leaders, staff members and families “had a lot to do with us deciding to extend the search.”

Wagner said the extended search process does not change Rodriguez’s June 30 exit date. The board is expected to appoint an interim superintendent at its meeting in May.