It didn't take long for Minneapolis Public Schools leaders — who are still scrambling to fill the top job at Southwest High School — to find a replacement for retiring South High principal Ray Aponte.

Brett Stringer, 41, will take over July 1.

Stringer recently was a principal at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, Colo. He said he began his first "best" teaching stint 15 years ago at South High School in Denver, educating English language learners. The culture and racial makeup at Minneapolis' South High reminds him of that experience, which helped shape his leadership in education.

"Diversity is the strength, and that's what makes us a strong community," Stringer said in a phone interview. "Every school that I have served since then, for the most part, that has been the focus of the schools."

Stringer has a bachelor's degree in film production, marketing and English from the University of Denver, and a master's degree in administration and leadership from the University of Colorado. He completed a principal fellowship with the Relay Graduate School of Education and participated in the National Urban School Leaders Institute at Harvard Graduate School of Education, according to a release from the district.

In a community letter, district leaders said they hired Stringer for his extensive experience and his "proven history of prioritizing equity and collaborating with students in the decisions affecting them."

Stringer moved to Minnesota with his wife and their two school-age kids. He said his wife, a high school art teacher who grew up in Minnesota, wanted to be closer to family.

Stringer plans to talk with Aponte, who served as the school's principal for five years. During the interview process, the South community told Stringer that some of their main priorities include uplifting and strengthening student voices, student leadership, activism, American Indian students and performing and visual arts, Stringer said.

Meanwhile, at Southwest High School, a team made up of students, staff, parents and community members has been interviewing candidates this week, according to district officials. Last month, the school's principal, Michael Favor, announced his resignation, effective June 19, after accepting a position as an assistant superintendent for Roseville Area Schools. District officials expect to hire a replacement before June 30.