The Prince William County School Board is moving forward with plans to replace one of its members who resigned suddenly last week.

School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns said in an interview that the board would look to have a replacement for Grant Lattin, who represented the Occoquan district, in time for the board’s first meeting in October. The board must first formally accept Lattin’s resignation at its meeting next month and will ask for community members who might want to fill the role to step forward in the coming weeks.

The search process will be conducted in the open, and a confirmation will be subject to the vote of the full School Board, Johns said.

“I will be looking for someone who can convince me that they want to be on the board because they’re prepared to serve and not because they have an axe to grind or want to use it as a stepping stone,” Johns said.

The appointed member would serve for about a year, and a special election to fill the seat would be put on the November 2013 ballot, Johns said.

Lattin stepped aside last week, more than four months after beginning his third term.

Lattin, a father of nine, said in a telephone interview that having a full-time workload in the District, overseeing U.S. Navy lawyers and then rushing home to deal with School Board activities, came “at the expense of my family.”

After almost nine years on the board, Lattin said, it was “time to adjust my priorities and spend some more time with my family.”

He said he is proud of his tenure. “We’ve kept the cost of public education at a manageable rate, while, at the same time, providing a high-quality education,” Lattin said. He added that the school system’s budget situation is troublesome and that more funds are needed.

“We’re spending less per child than any other school system in Northern Virginia,” Lattin said.

Lattin saw the school system from a “parent’s perspective,” according to his biography on the system’s Web site. His youngest child attends Woodbridge High School, where five of his other children also went.

Lattin taught fifth grade at Antietam Elementary School from 1998 to 2001.

He served more than 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring in 1995. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Lattin oversees the Navy’s general litigation division, supervising lawyers involved in civil litigation across the country.

Juggling those responsibilities and family obligations became too much, Lattin said, and he needed to “adjust” his priorities after nearly a decade.

“I’ve enjoyed the ride,” he said.