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NSHE names 'stabilizing' acting chancellor, ending time of uncertainty

The Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education recently named former state Superintendent Dale Erquiaga as acting chancellor.

His appointment ends two months of uncertainty about who will lead NSHE following the departure of former Chancellor Melody Rose, whose tumultuous tenure ended in April following a monthslong dispute with regents.

That's why some see Erquiaga as a stabilizing force for the system.

His long track record in public service in Nevada includes a stint as the state’s top K-12 administrator and most recently as the executive director of the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities.

Upon his appointment, board chair Cathy McAdoo said he “is a gifted innovator and strategist with over 35 years of successful experience in both the private and public sectors ... I have full confidence in his abilities to be a true asset for NSHE and the many communities we serve.”

He was born in Fallon and grew up on farm. His grandparents immigrated from Basque country. Since 1997, he's lived in Las Vegas or Reno. 

He has the unique position of experience working in K-12 education while serving NSHE. 

"Much of what a superintendent deals with, is what we would call college and career readiness. So what happens to students when they leave high school, we're very focused on graduation rates, of course, but we're also focused on post-secondary behavior, whether students enter the workforce immediately, or they go on to a community college, or a four-year college or a four-year university. So my experience in the superintendency, I think, colors my view of what higher ed needs to provide for students," he said.

He said he wants to bridge the divide between high school and Nevada's colleges. His first job, though, will be an assessment of his employees -- 15,000 throughout eight instuitutions.

He'll serve for the next 18 months. 

Dale Erquiaga, acting chancellor, Nevada System of High Education

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Paul serves as KNPR's producer and reporter in Northern Nevada. Based in Reno, Paul specializes in covering state government and the legislature.