Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday named lifelong friend and former policy adviser Dale Erquiaga the state’s superintendent of Public Instruction.
He replaces James Guthrie, who resigned this year.
The board of Education forwarded three finalists to Sandoval: Erquiaga, interim superintendent Rorie Fitzpatrick and Clark County School Board member Rene Cantu Jr. of Las Vegas.
“Dale has extensive experience working with the state’s largest school district, the Department of Education and the Legislature on education reform in Nevada,” Sandoval said. “I believe that as Nevada continues to reform the delivery of education, Dale is the right individual to lead the state forward.”
Erquiaga is a strategic planner for clients in health care and the arts and culture. He was Sandoval’s senior policy adviser from 2010-12 and, before that, executive director of government affairs, public policy and strategic planning for the Clark County School District.
He also has held positions in state government including director of the Department of Cultural Affairs and chief elections deputy for the secretary of state.
“It will be a great advantage to have someone with Dale’s life experiences to guide us as our next state superintendent,” said Board of Education President Elaine Wynn. “He has a unique combination of deep-rooted Nevada heritage, policy-making skills and diverse educational background.”
Erquiaga holds a Master of Science degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University.
He and Sandoval have known each other since they were in grade school.
Erquiaga officially becomes superintendent Aug. 26.