The Stillwater school board on Monday night narrowed its list of candidates for superintendent to seven finalists, including a controversial Farmington leader who recently resigned.

The next superintendent will lead the 9,000-student district as it undergoes its first redistricting in more than a decade. Under its recently approved 2014 vision plan, the board also will consider in the coming months whether to turn its junior high schools into middle schools and add space to its high school.

The district, like many others in the state, faces drastic budget shortfalls.

Board members will do preliminary interviews Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The final two to three candidates will be interviewed March 22 to 24 in a process that will include public forums.

Tom Nelson has served as Stillwater's interim superintendent since Keith Ryskoski resigned last summer. Nelson's interim contract ends June 30.

The new superintendent will begin work by July 1.

Included in the list of finalists is Brad Meeks, who resigned last week as Farmington's superintendent in the wake of a contentious relationship between school board members and his administration.

The other candidates are Craig Menozzi, New Prague superintendent; William Laney, assistant superintendent of the St. Louis Park district; Deb Henton, North Branch superintendent; Troy Miller, assistant superintendent in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District; Corey Lunn, the Montgomery-Lonsdale superintendent, and Rod Thompson, the St. Anthony-New Brighton superintendent.

The board will begin interviewing the finalists at 5 p.m. Tuesday at its central office at 1875 Greeley St. S. in Stillwater.

Daarel Burnette II • 651-735-1695