LEROY — Jim Ganger, Pine River Area Schools superintendent of eight years, is retiring following the end of the 2013-14 school year.

Ganger began his career in education about 30 years ago in Kentucky, also serving as a coach. Following his 11 years in the state, he came to Michigan in 1996 to the PRAS as a high school counselor. In 2002, he accepted a position as high school principal and became superintendent of the district in 2005.

“It’s an outstanding district,” Ganger said. “We have very supportive family and students who are dedicated to education.”

He said he has enjoyed his time within PRAS and will miss interacting with the people he works with and sees in the hallways each day.

“It’s a pleasure to come to work every day to work with the staff and the community we have,” Ganger added.

Board president Jim Peterson believes Ganger has done an “admirable” job as superintendent since he accepted the position eight years ago.

“I’m grateful for his years of service,” Peterson said.

Upon Ganger’s announcement to retire, the PRAS Board of Education will begin searching for a new superintendent immediately. At the Sept. 30 special board meeting, Peterson discussed search proposals from the Michigan Association of School Boards and Michigan Leadership Institute.

MASB offers its services for a price of $6,700 plus expenses that include items such as mileage reimbursement and hotel fees, and Michigan Leadership Institute quoted a flat price of $5,500. Peterson said the proposal from Michigan Leadership Institute comes with a promise he favors. If the superintendent leaves on his own accord within the first year of his position, the company will help the district with the search again, but only requiring expenses.

Both companies are highly respected and will complete the task of matching candidates to the school district, he added. From there, the board will host public interviews for each candidate.

Board members also discussed the possibility of having a split superintendent position. In that situation, a current superintendent from another district would also take on the position for PRAS.

Peterson said he would like to see the school board vote on a motion to begin the search at the Oct. 14 meeting. A time period of about four months is expected before a new superintendent is chosen, he added.

“In these times, it’s challenging to be a superintendent of a school district,” Peterson said, noting a candidate must be multi-talented, have a vision for the future and be efficient with budgets. “They’ve got to be good with the business management side of things and we definitely want someone with dynamic leadership abilities.”