A search committee submitted the names Thursday to the state Board of Education.
The board will interview all the candidates at a public meeting Feb. 22 and 23, before recommending three finalists to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who will make the appointment.
Three of the five are from Nevada. They are Rene Cantu Jr., executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation; Magdalena Martinez; assistant vice chancellor at the Nevada System of Higher Education; and Caroline McIntoch, school superintendent in Lyon County.
Other contenders are James Guthrie, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at George W. Bush Institute in Dallas; and Sylvia McMullen, executive director of the Texas Education Reform Foundation.
Sandoval hopes to make an appointment by March.
Applicants were required to have a master’s degree in education or school administration and be “strongly committed” to education reform.
Experience in the classroom, working with English language learners and overseeing large budgets was also required.
The new superintendent will replace Keith Rheault, who is retiring in April.
A new law passed by state lawmakers last year gives the governor, rather than the state board, authority to appoint the superintendent.
The change was one of several education reforms sought during the 2011 session by Sandoval, who campaigned on a promise to overhaul Nevada’s education system.
Other measures ended the practice of protecting teachers based on seniority in the event of layoffs and revamped evaluation procedures to make it easier to fire underperforming teachers.
Probationary periods for new employees were extended from one or two years to three years, and experienced teachers can be placed back on probation if they consistently underperform. During probation, a district has broad latitude to not to renew a teacher’s contract at the end of the year.