HOULTON, Maine — With the school year starting to wind down, the search for a new superintendent continues in RSU 29, which serves the communities of Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello.

Board chairman Fred Grant stated Monday evening that the district received a strong pool of candidates for the position being vacated by Mike Hammer, who announced his resignation in January. His final day with the school district is June 30.

The school board hired Hammer on Feb. 23, 2011, and he began his duties on June 21, 2011. Hammer replaced Steve Fitzpatrick, who resigned in June 2010. Prior to coming to RSU 29, Hammer had been principal at Hancock Grammar School between 2003 and 2010 and served as superintendent for the Otis School Department in 2010.

Grant said the district received 11 strong candidates for the position and of those 11 people, the search committee interviewed three. A round of second interviews was slated for Wednesday night, April 8. Grant said he was optimistic the board would be able to fill the position in the near future.

“Ideally, the goal is to have a person in place to start July 1,” he said. “I know whoever we hire will coordinate with Mike to get up to speed on the needs of our district.”

The district will not have two superintendents on the payroll at the same time, he added. Hammer also has expressed a willingness to assist the district in any way, provided he has not taken on a new job, Grant said.