The Anoka-Hennepin School District is one step closer to finding its permanent superintendent. The school board on Wednesday unanimously chose to advance Sartell-St. Stephen School District Superintendent Jeffrey Ridlehoover and Osseo Superintendent Cory McIntyre to the next round of interviews, set to take place Dec. 6 and 7.

Board Chair Marci Anderson said Ridlehoover and McIntyre rose to the top of the list due to their experience working in the district. Ridlehoover was a chemistry teacher at Champlin Park High and was an administrative intern for the district.

McIntyre was the executive director for student services and an assistant superintendent.

Anderson said in an interview that she believes existing relationships Ridlehoover and McIntyre have with current staff will help them hit the ground running and worked heavily in their favor.

"If we didn't have as many new administrators, that would not have been as important, I think," she said.

The Anoka-Hennepin district enrolls about 38,000 students.

Ridlehoover has led the Sartell-St. Stephen district for a little more than a year. He was previously the assistant superintendent in Mounds View from July 2017 until July 2021. Ridlehoover was the principal of Mounds View High for four years before that and spent nine years as the principal at Wayzata High.

He began his career in education with a one-year stint as the chemistry teacher at Lakeville High before taking the same position at Champlin Park High for four years. Ridlehoover was an administrative intern at the district offices for one year as well. He's worked as an adjunct professor at Hamline University since 2014.

McIntyre was hired as Osseo superintendent in 2019. Before that he spent three years working in the Anoka-Hennepin district, first as the executive director of student services before he was promoted to assistant superintendent in 2018.

He's also worked as the director of student services for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district and for the school district in Hudson, Wis.

The new hire will succeed interim Superintendent Katherine Maguire, who was the superintendent in Osseo until she retired in 2018. She replaced David Law, who helmed the district until earlier this year when he was hired away by Minnetonka Public Schools.

Once the school board makes its final decision Dec. 7, it will begin contract negotiations.

Law earned $234,800 in his last year as superintendent. The north metro district also provided $2,000 to cover the cost of Law's membership in professional education associations and paid $7,500 into a retirement annuity.

The Anoka-Hennepin district's search for a new top administrator is happening at the same time as Minneapolis Public Schools seeks a permanent replacement for Ed Graff, who declined to renew his contract shortly after the conclusion of a three-week teachers strike.

The school board appointed Rochelle Cox as interim superintendent. She has served a variety of roles in that district for about 25 years.

The Anoka-Hennepin board also interviewed three other candidates this week: St. Paul Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Yeu Vang, former Prior-Lake Savage Area Schools Superintendent Teri Staloch and Matthew GutiƩrrez, superintendent of the Seguin Independent School District in Texas.

Correction: This story has been updated to accurately reflect Rochelle Cox's tenure with Minneapolis Public Schools.