Two of Minnesota's largest school districts are searching for leaders.

Osseo and Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan districts have superintendent vacancies, joining about two dozen other districts across Minnesota looking to fill the top spots.

In all, there are 31 superintendent vacancies across the state for the coming year — a fairly typical number, said Gary Amoroso, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

In the east metro, Mahtomedi is looking for a superintendent. Outside the Twin Cities, Bemidji is among a few smaller districts searching for a new leader, interviewing candidates April 12 to replace Jim Hess.

In the CEO-like role, superintendents aren't simply charged with running districts or responding to controversies. They also serve as the face of responsibilities ranging from referendum requests to addressing the growing number of school threats.

On Monday and Tuesday, Osseo, the state's fifth-largest district, will conduct a second round of interviews of candidates to succeed Kate Ma­guire, who retires in June.

Maguire, who rose to the top spot after working as a teacher, principal and administrator in Osseo, announced last fall that she was retiring after 33 years in the 20,000-student district.

"I have a lot of respect for her and what she's accomplished," said Mike Ostaffe, chairman of the school board, which is tasked with hiring Maguire's replacement. "She's done a wonderful job."

Since landing the superintendent job in 2010, Maguire led the district through a grade reconfiguration, race equity initiatives, successful public bids for a levy increase and the district's first-ever technology levy. In 2014, she was the fourth woman to be honored as the state's Superintendent of the Year by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

Out of 28 applicants, four finalists will be interviewed this week. The school board will conduct additional interviews on April 10, when finalists will take questions from the community. Later that night, the board is expected to vote on a new superintendent, with the appointee starting work by July.

"That person is the ultimate administrator," Ostaffe said. "It's a huge responsibility."

In the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district, the school board accepted the retirement of Superintendent Jane Berenz last month after nine years in the top spot.

The Apple Valley High School graduate spent 22 years teaching special education and working as a principal and administrator in the district. She led the district's successful referendum bid in 2013 and a bond referendum in 2015, which included money for boosting security at schools.

District leaders named special education director Mary Kreger to fill the role of interim superintendent for the 2018-2019 school year. She'll start July 1.

The 28,000-student district, the state's fourth largest, will conduct a search next school year for a permanent replacement to start in summer 2019.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141