Saavedra, who plans to pursue other career opportunities, says with a smile that his replacement should be smarter, brighter, stronger and a better communicator than he's been.
"What you want is, you want someone that can carry forward what you started and I expect that individual, whoever it may be five years out, to be able to say, 'I'm leaving the place a better place than what it was when I arrived'. We all should be able to say that when we leave."
HISD's board probably won't have much trouble attracting national interest for the open job. Saavedra's salary and bonus together this year was well over $400,000. Board member Greg Meyers.
"I think it's important that we have an open process that ensures that we get the best quality candidate, period. I think if we do that, we're going to ensure that this community will feel that they have a very strong voice and assurance that we will provide some tremendous leadership moving forward."
Board president Lawrence Marshall says picking Saavedra's successor is an important job for the district's leaders.
"Our efforts will be to look around the nation and to try and find the most capable individual who can make a difference in the lives of our children."
Saavedra has been with HISD since July of 2004. He says he'd consider stepping down before next spring if the board finds his replacement sooner.