VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta High School principal search may very well come to an end next week.

Superintendent of Valdosta City Schools Sam Allen said he will make his recommendation to the Valdosta Board of Education during a 7 p.m. June 24 called meeting at the system's central office.

Allen said Board members will then vote and either approve his recommendation or direct him to bring them a second option.

"I will have two backup selections ready that evening just in case," Allen said.

Allen's recommendation will be one of the six out of seven candidates interviewed on May 24 and June 14 by both the board and the six members of Valdosta High's School Council -- two parent representatives, two faculty representatives and two business representatives.

Thomas Challender, five-year veteran administrator and commandant of cadets at Kemper Military School in Boonville, Mo., has already accepted a position elsewhere.

The School Council is scheduled to make its recommendation to the Board sometime this week. Allen said his selection may or may not be the same. The ultimate decision lies in the hands of the Board.

"We are ready to make a decision," Allen said. "Time is moving pretty fast ... and we need to make sure the person selected can be released from their previous employer by the first part of July."

Although Allen expects the selection process to run smoothly, he said the only holdups anticipated will be if the person chosen cannot be released from his contract or no longer wants the job.

The person selected will succeed Charles Bonner, a 19-year veteran educator who has served as principal of Valdosta High School for the past five years and also as assistant principal and associate principal.

The Board recently voted to transfer Bonner to the system's central office, where he will serve in an administrative-type position beginning July 1. Bonner's new title and/or duties remain unknown at this time. However, Allen said the position is a lateral one and will not involve a decrease in pay.

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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