PORTLAND — The Portland Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint the principal of Deering High School to be its acting superintendent of schools.

Ira Waltz will assume the post on July 1 and will remain through  Aug. 31 or until a new superintendent is hired, according to a statement posted on the school district’s website.

James C. Morse Sr., the current superintendent is leaving the Portland school district to work as superintendent of the Oyster River School District in Durham, N.H.

School officials, who have conducted a national search for a replacement, have narrowed the field to two finalists.

Board member Sarah J. Thompson, who has been heading up the superintendent search committee, identified the finalists as Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, deputy superintendent for the Paterson, N.J., school system, and Emmanuel Caulk, assistant superintendent for the Philadelphia school system.

“Neither one of them are out (as candidates),” said Thompson, who declined to speculate on how long negotiations with both finalists might take to complete.

Vanden Wyngaard and Caulk were introduced to the public earlier this year at informal question-and-answer sessions.

Waltz has served as Deering’s principal since the summer of 2010. Before that he served as assistant superintendent of the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.