The North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District has settled on a choice for its next superintendent.

The school board voted Wednesday to enter into contract talks with Ryan Laager, executive director of curriculum and secondary education for the Stillwater Area Public Schools.

In a statement, Board Chairwoman Theresa Auge said that Laager "was selected for his proven innovation in student learning, broad range of K-12 knowledge and community outreach experience."

He is to succeed Patty Phillips, who steps down at the end of June.

District 622 is the most diverse among those serving students east of St. Paul. According to state data, 50.4 percent of its 10,603 students are minority group members.

The district, a leader in offering free all-day kindergarten, has faced financial difficulties. On Feb. 17, the board approved $8 million in budget cuts and adjustments for the 2015-16 school year. The district said in a news releast that it's had to make significant cuts in eight of the past 10 years.