NEW BEDFORD —Jason DeFalco, deputy superintendent of the New Bedford public schools, has been named a finalist for superintendent of the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District, which serves two Massachusetts towns north of Woonsocket, R.I.

The district has about 1,700 students — a small fraction of New Bedford's 13,000.

DeFalco said that's one of the things that appeals to him about the job. He'll be able to get closer to the classroom.

"I'm a teacher at heart," he said.

Formerly a lead teacher in grades 3 through 5, DeFalco holds a doctorate in education from Johnson & Wales University. He has been a principal in Southbridge, Somerville and Worcester, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In New Bedford, a search is underway to replace Superintendent Pia Durkin, who has resigned effective June 30. The application deadline is Feb. 15, and finalists are expected to be announced the week of March 5.

DeFalco is one of three finalists announced by Blackstone-Millville's regional School Committee.

The others are:

Richard Drolet, director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and accountability for the Uxbridge public school system and an experienced elementary and middle school teacher. Drolet also holds a doctorate in education from Johnson & Wales University.

Kevin McNamara, principal of Lincoln High School in Lincoln, Rhode Island, and an experienced high school English teacher. McNamara holds a master’s degree in education from Providence College.

Blackstone-Millville interviews were held in January, and the School Committee revealed the finalists Feb. 1.

Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram & Gazette contributed to this report.