Five finalists picked for Nevada’s top education post

CARSON CITY — Five experienced educators, including four from Nevada, have been selected as finalists for state superintendent of public instruction.

On Friday, the state Board of Personnel announced the finalists to replace state schools chief Keith Rheault, who is retiring in April. Rheault has been state superintendent since 2004 and began work with the state Department of Education in 1986.

The candidates will be interviewed by the state Board of Education at public meetings Feb. 22 and 23. The board will forward its three top choices to Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Under a law passed last year, the governor, not the state board, selects and oversees the state superintendent. The state’s education leader oversees kindergarten through 12th grade in Nevada.

The job pays $121,785 a year plus benefits.

The five finalists were chosen from 12 candidates, including eight Nevada residents. The finalists are the following:

■ Rene Cantu Jr., who holds a doctorate in education from the University of Texas. He has been executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation since May 2010. He was vice president of multicultural affairs at Nevada State College. He has worked at the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Texas branches in Austin and San Antonio.

■ Magdalena Martinez, assistant vice chancellor for academic and students affairs for the Nevada System of Higher Education. She holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from UNLV. Over the years, she has worked as a management analyst for the city of Las Vegas, an education consultant for the University of Nevada, Reno, cooperative extension and as a senior research associate at Michigan.

■ Caroline McIntosh, superintendent of schools in Lyon County, based in Yerington, since 2008. She has master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno, and is president of the Nevada Association of School Superintendents. McIntosh has worked as a teacher in White Pine County.

■ Sylvia McMullen, president of Vital Communications, based in Las Vegas. She holds a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M and a doctorate in law from the University of Houston. Her resume includes working as a TV station manager in Texas and as project director for a children’s television show.

■ James W. Guthrie, an education professor at Southern Methodist University and director of education policy for the George W. Bush Institute. He holds a doctorate from Stanford University and is a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for 27 years, and Vanderbilt University, where he taught for 15 years. He has published dozens of papers about education. He was a member of the local school board in Berkeley.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

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