ADAMS TWP — The Mars School Board president announced that the district has received 24 applications for superintendent. William Pettigrew will retire from that position in December. Dayle Ferguson, board president, said at Tuesday night’s school board meeting the board read the two dozen applications on March 14 and found the applicants come from as far away as Florida. “We are very pleased with the caliber of the applications,” Ferguson said. She said the board has narrowed the field of contenders and invited those who made the cut for an interview. “We are scheduling those appointments now,” Ferguson said. She said interviews will begin after the district’s spring break. David Nearhoof of Mars told the board that he hopes a new superintendent will not arrive with the intention of completely overhauling the district. Nearhoof said Pettigrew and the forward-thinking school boards over the past 25 years have taken the district from a small, rural district to a well-respected institution in a growing community. Nearhoof said he is concerned about importing a new superintendent from a far-away district who would bring outside influences and changes that are unnecessary, and he hoped that in-house candidates also are being considered. “We need some young thinking, but we don’t want to see a school board that has conflicts with the superintendent or one that becomes dysfunctional because they can’t operate together,” Nearhoof said. “Please don’t upset what we’ve got.” Ferguson assured Nearhoof that the board is intent on selecting a candidate who is the best person for the job in terms of experience and who is an appropriate fit for the district. Since accepting the job as Mars superintendent in 1987, Pettigrew has led the district through significant curriculum improvements, technological upgrades, and building projects to accommodate the growing number of students. He will help the new superintendent into December.