The search for a new superintendent has not been easy 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 hold contract talks with Christine Osorio, chief academic officer for the St. Paul Public Schools, to become superintendent 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 lead the district. In April, however, the board failed to reach consensus on a contract, and restarted its 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."

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 district.

Anthony Lonetree

Film screenings follow civil rights field trip

In April, about 52 west metro students toured several historic civil rights landmarks including the Edmund Pettis Bridge, 16th Street Baptist Church, National Civil Rights Museum, the African-American Civil War Museum, and the Martin Luther King Memorial.

By many students' accounts, it was a life-changing experience.

On Thursday, the public can get a glimpse of the students' experience through the screenings of three documentaries. After each screening, students will be available to answer questions.

The screenings will take place at from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, 10635 N. 36th Av., Plymouth

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Kim McGuire

10 city schools win $100,000 grants

As part of their efforts to help close the achievement gap, Target and the Greater Twin Cities United Way on Tuesday awarded 10 schools in St. Paul and Minneapolis grants totaling $1 million.

The grants, $100,000 per school, are part of the Spotlight Schools initiative announced last summer. Forty schools were invited to apply for the grants and the 10 winners were announced on Tuesday.

Spotlight Schools' teachers will now have the technology — from Smart Boards to iPads — that are necessary to help students be on an even academic field," said United Way President and CEO Sarah Caruso.

The grant winners are: Community of Peace Academy, Como Park Elementary, Eastern Heights Elementary, Friendship Academy of the Arts, Harvest Prep Academy, Heritage Science and Technology Magnet, Hiawatha Leadership Academy, Patrick Henry High School, St. Paul City School and Washington Technology Magnet.

Laysha Ward, Target's executive vice president and chief corporate responsibility officer, said the grants will help the company achieve its goal of giving $1 billion to education by the end of 2015.

Kim McGuire