After taking time to gather input on what’s needed in a new superintendent, the St. Paul School District is now seeking applicants for the job.

A posting by the search firm Ray and Associates, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, emphasizes a need to “narrow the achievement gap” and advertises a starting salary of about $238,000 — subject to negotiations.

Candidates have until March 8 to apply.

Craig Morris, of Ray and Associates, said Tuesday that school board members then will work privately and independently to review materials from as many as 13 semifinalists, with the goal of identifying three finalists whose names will be announced between March 23 and 25.

Still to be determined will be the schedule for community meetings with the finalists and the day on which the board will select the district’s new leader.

Ray and Associates created a profile for the position based on results of an online survey, as well as comments collected in a series of community meetings in December and January. The top qualities identified by respondents can be found at the district’s website (www.spps.org).

“I think you’re going to have a successful outcome,” Morris told board members.

Last summer, the board voted to oust Superintendent Valeria Silva, and hired John Thein to serve as interim leader.

Thein has said he does not want the permanent job.

Silva, who was due to receive a $223,849 salary in 2018 — as well as $11,000 in longevity pay — led a Strong Schools, Strong Communities reorganization of the district that put more emphasis on neighborhood schools. The job posting states the new superintendent will be expected to advance that plan and/or lead development of a new one.

The search firm had received 34 contacts or inquiries about the position by Jan. 25, Morris said.