ADAMS TWP — The Mars School Board on Tuesday hired a consultant to help it find a replacement for Superintendent William Pettigrew, who will retire Dec. 1. The board selected Victor Marrone, who is a Middlesex Township resident and a retired superintendent. “Since his retirement from the Bethel Park School District, he has successfully assisted numerous school districts with their superintendent and assistant superintendent searches,” Ferguson said of Marrone. Besides being a resident of the district, Marrone has three grandchildren who attend Mars schools. Board President Dayle Ferguson said the board met with Marrone on Dec. 13 to discuss the search's timeline and the candidate recruitment process. She said the district will advertise the vacancy in mid-January in a variety of publications. Candidates will submit their information to Marrone by mid- to late February via an online application. The board also will seek input from residents, parents, and staff regarding their skill preferences in a candidate. The board will do its first interviews in late March and narrow the field to one to three final candidates. The second round of interviews will occur in mid-April, and a third round will be held after that if necessary. The board hopes to hire someone in mid-May, and hopes that person will begin before Pettigrew leaves. Ferguson said the board is seeking “a visionary and proven leader with demonstrated educational and operational success.” Marrone said on Wednesday that he has done six educational searches, all in Western Pennsylvania. His most recent consultation was finding a superintendent and assistant superintendent for the South Butler County School District. He said Mars is unique in that the superintendent will be on the job when the new candidate begins. Normally, the superintendent is leaving or already gone by the time Marrone is contacted to help. He also said most outgoing superintendents on his consultations have only been working at the district for a short time. “It's unique that Dr. Pettigrew has been there for quite some time,” Marrone said. “I don't usually find that.” He expects to receive 20 to 30 applicants for Pettigrew's position because of Mars' excellent reputation among education professionals. “This is a high-profile district,” Marrone said. “I think we're going to do very well in getting a nice response.” Marrone said Mars is also unique because the board is posting an online survey regarding the superintendent's position to get the opinion of the community and taxpayers. He said most districts form a search committee, but Mars was unwavering in its decision to ask citizens and staff for their input.