GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Applause for Superintendent Mike Looney's time in Butler County opened the school board meeting.
But the announcement of an interim superintendent closed it.
The school board approved Butler County Magnent School Principal Joseph Dean as Interim Superintendent.
"I have this opportunity to learn from Mr. Looney and sit down and discuss the issues that are currently affecting the school district and devise a plan to resolve those issues," says Dean.
The announcement brought congratulatory hugs and handshakes.
And while the work is just beginning for Dean, the school board now has a challenge of its own--finding a permanent superintendent.
Teachers say they want someone who cares just as much as Looney did.
"I hope that the Board of Education will go out and find someone who's really dedicated to the system--that has the children as their concern, will listen to teachers," says W.S. Godwin, a teacher in Butler County.
"[I want] someone who cares about the children because they are our most prized possession," says former teacher, Gloria Warren.
Some residents say the school board should hire an outside firm to find the right person.
Others don't think that's a smart move with proration and budget cuts taking a toll.
"That can get very costly. Other systems have done it. They did not do it this past time and I think the board did a good job on finding a superintendent," says Julie Swann.
But what about Dean? Could he be in the driver's seat? He says that's yet to be determined.
"Actually, I just want to get over the thrill of being named the interim and be able to think about that process at a later date."
Dean is the first African American to hold the position.
Looney says he's staying through November to help him get settled.
Dean takes over December 1st.
The board approved a 45-day advertising period for the superintendent's job.