HERMON, Maine — Though a date has yet to be set, longtime Superintendent of Schools Patricia Duran is getting ready to retire and the school committee has launched a search for her successor, Hermon School Committee Chairman Anthony Reynolds said Wednesday.

“We’re in the early, early stages [of the search], and Patty’s fairly flexible, so we don’t have a real date [for her retirement],” Reynolds said.

“We’re going to do it as soon as we can because she’d like to retire as soon as she can, but she’s not going to leave us in the lurch,” he said.

Duran began her career with the Hermon School Department in 1972 as a classroom teacher. She became principal of Hermon High School in 1993 and was at its helm when the then new Hermon High opened in 1995. She became superintendent in 2000.

“I have spent my whole career here. I went away to [college] and came right back. I couldn’t find a better place to be,” said Duran, who has 44 years with the department under her belt and is starting her 45th year with Hermon schools.

Duran said earlier this week that while she is looking forward to retirement, leaving the local school department will be difficult. She hasn’t decided when the exact date will be, but she said her departure date will be set later during the search process.

“There are days when I wish it were never. I love my job. I think I have the greatest community in the world, and it’s kind of hard to think of leaving here. I’ve done this awhile now,” she said.

“All good things must some to an end. It’s an exciting time to be here. I just hope they find the right person and somebody who loves it as much as I do,” Duran said.

As for what’s next, Duran said she and her husband, Bob Duran, are looking forward to spending more time with their granddaughter in Massachusetts.

Bob Duran has partially retired from his business, C & K Variety, but the store is in good hands as a daughter, who has been working at the family business since she was a teenager, has taken on many of the management duties.

Reynolds said that the superintendent opening will be advertised in the state’s large daily newspapers and through a professional organization for superintendents.

In the months ahead, a committee will be appointed to review applications and draw up a list of finalists, he said.