COLUMBIA, Mo. -

On Friday officials at Columbia Public Schools announced they have selected a new leader.

Dr. Peter Stiepleman will become the next superintendent, after Dr. Chris Belcher retires June 30.

Stiepleman was the assistant superintendent for elementary education in Columbia.

"It's not about changing course but really focusing on those thing that we value and going deeper," said Stiepleman on Friday.

The district says the search process started almost two months ago.

Board members recently reviewed 18 applications and chose two finalists after a last round of interviews.

The other candidate was Dr. Dred Scott, who is the deputy superintendent for Independence schools near Kansas City.

The board held a meeting Wednesday for nearly five hours, after a public question and answer session the previous night.

Stiepleman began his career in Oakland, California, before he started teaching at Derby Ridge Elementary in Columbia. He eventually became principal at West Boulevard Elementary and has served in his current position for just four years.