The search for a new superintendent has not been an easy one for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District. But, in the end, it didn't have to go far to find its next leader.

On Monday, the school board voted unanimously to enter into contract talks with Christine Osorio, chief academic officer for the St. Paul Public Schools, to take over as superintendent on July 1.

The district has been at this stage before.

Earlier this year, the school board tapped Ryan Laager of the Stillwater Area Public Schools to be the district's new leader. In April, however, the board failed to reach consensus on a contract, and announced it was restarting the superintendent search.

Osorio emerged as one of two finalists, and won the job after interviews Monday.

"We felt it was crucial to have a unanimous vote on such an important decision," Theresa Auge, the board's chairwoman, said in statement. "The experience Ms. Osorio brings to our district will prove invaluable as we move forward."

For the St. Paul district, the hiring leaves it in the position of having to find a new chief academic officer for a second consecutive year. The position is an important one. Osorio's predecessor, Matt Mohs, was a major player in teacher-contract talks before moving on in 2014 to be the new headmaster at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. Osorio was a member of this year's district negotiating team.

Before rising to the central administrative ranks, Osorio served as the principal of Paul & Sheila Wellstone Elementary in St. Paul.

The North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district is the most diverse among those serving students east of St. Paul, and it has looked to its neighbor for leadership help before. In 2013, three St. Paul Public Schools staff members were hired to fill principal slots in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district.