A student walks in front of Historic Biddle Hall on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University. Photo: QCity Metro

The Johnson C. Smith University Board of Trustees has hired a Boston-based search firm to assist in finding a new president to replace Ronald Carter, who announced in August that he is stepping down at the end of the current academic year.

The school’s trustees have pledged to have his successor in place by the date of Carter’s departure.

Leading a national search will be prominent search firm Isaacson, Miller, which also has offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Shirley J. Hughes, who chairs the JCSU board as well as its search committee, said the firm “has a history of recruiting exceptional talent as presidents, chancellors and deans for a diverse spectrum of higher education institutions.”

On its website, Isaacson, Miller says it has conducted more than 5,600 executive searches since its founding in 1982. Its client list includes some of the nation’s leading universities.

In announcing Carter’s departure, Hughes said he was hired in 2008 to guide the school through a “five- to 10-year period of reinvention.” She said he had done that successfully.

JCSU, currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, has experienced significant gains under Carter, most notably in forging stronger ties with Charlotte’s business community. Also under Carter, the university has become more involved in the discussion to shape its surrounding communities, a historically black area now under transformation.

But not everyone has been happy with Carter’s leadership. In October 2015, former JCSU trustee Talmadge Fair launched a failed petition drive to remove Carter as president. Fair, a 1961 JCSU graduate and head of the Urban League of Greater Miami, said he was most concerned about the school’s financial situation, low morale among staff, and the departure of key administrators.

Carter has not said what he will do once he leaves JCSU.

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.