As Red Bank Regional‘s school board continues to search for a replacement for Superintendent Howard Lucks, right, a familiar face will step back into the main office.

Edward Westervelt, whom Lucks replaced last year, will resume superintendent duties on an interim basis when Lucks leaves the school on February 1, the district announced Thursday.

“Dr. Westervelt was just here last year, so the board thought it would be a smooth transition rather than bringing an interim superintendent who didn’t have much experience,” said Business Administrator Tina Galvao.

Westervelt, of Middletown, retired in 2009 after 11 years at RBR. Lucks had anticipated a longer tenure when he replaced Westervelt, but his wife’s declining health pushed him to submit his resignation in October.

Galvao said with Westervelt’s experience, and during a time when the board is developing its budget, the district is in better shape to conduct a thorough search for Lucks’s replacement.

“It’s the time when you really need someone with experience,” she said.

Galvao doesn’t anticipate Westervelt staying at the helm too long. Search efforts are ongoing, she said, and a replacement could be announced as soon the end of this month.

“We’re looking at (having a replacement) sometime in April, we hope,” Galvao said, “but nothing has been finalized at this point.”

Here’s the full text of a press release issued by Red Bank Regional:

At its January 5th meeting, the Red Bank Regional (RBR) Board of Education appointed its former Superintendent, Dr. Edward Westervelt of Middletown, as Interim Superintendent to guide the school district through its leadership transitional period. RBR’s current Superintendent, Dr. Howard Lucks, of Jackson, submitted his resignation to the Board of Education on October 25 in order to care for his ailing wife. His last day in the district is February 1. The Board has been conducting a new superintendent search and expects to announce its new selection by the end of January. Most likely, the new Superintendent will need to give at least 60 days notice before leaving his or her current school district. Dr. Westervelt agreed to be hired on the lower capped salary (state mandated of new permanent hires) on a per diem basis until the new superintendent is in place.

Dr. Edward Westervelt retired from RBR in October of 2009 after an eleven-year career at RBR and a distinguished 43-year long career in public education. Under his leadership, RBR has added many new courses, programs and initiatives. He also was responsible for hiring many of the current staff.