Lyon superintendent up for state job |

Lyon superintendent up for state job

by Sean Whaley
Nevada News Bureau

Two Nevadans and a scholar from Texas made the final cut today for the job of state superintendent of public instruction.

Rene Cantu Jr., Caroline McIntosh and James Guthrie were selected from among five finalists by the state Board of Education to forward to Gov. Brian Sandoval for him to select the new state public schools chief. Sandoval is expected to announce his choice sometime next month.

Cantu is the executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation and former vice president of multicultural affairs at Nevada State College.

Guthrie is a senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Unified School District in California.

McIntosh is the superintendent of schools for the Lyon County School District.

Guthrie was the top finalist, winning favorable votes from all 10 members of the board. Cantu and McIntosh received 8-2 votes.

Sandoval has called the appointment of a new superintendent one of the most important he will make as governor.

The five candidates were interviewed by the board on Wednesday and Thursday.

Keith Rheault, Nevada’s current superintendent is retiring in early April.

Sandoval wants a new schools chief on board well ahead of the 2013 legislative session.

As a result of education reform legislation approved by the 2011 Legislature, Sandoval now has the authority to appoint the new schools chief. In the past the 10-member Board of Education had the authority to select the superintendent.

The board Friday discussed the qualifications and qualities of all five candidates before voting.

Board Vice President Adriana Fralick said of Cantu: “He knows education. He is eager and excited to work. I think of all of them he probably would work harder to prove himself. I like that about him. He may not have as much experience management-wise as some of the others but I think he had a lot of good points.”

Board member Willia Chaney said McIntosh was energetic in her interview and already has a working knowledge of the problems and challenges facing public education in Nevada.

“And I think that she has a strong vision and she has high expectations,” Chaney said. “And I believe that any person who is going to lead the Department of Education has to have high expectations.”

Board member Craig Wilkinson was one of several board members who spoke very highly of Guthrie, saying he would clearly seek out the opinions of others and get to know all of the stakeholders in the education reform effort.

“He was for the students,” Wilkinson said. “I like that. He wasn’t just education. He was for the students and teachers.”