Nyland, 66, had previously spent nine years as superintendent of the Marysville School District.
In 2007, he was named Superintendent of the Year by the Washington School Administrators Association.
He left Marysville in 2013 and spent the past year as an education consultant for several districts.
He served as interim superintendent in the Shoreline school district in 1997. Before that, he was chief academic officer at Highline Public Schools.
The opening at the top was created when Superintendent José Banda announced last month that he was the sole candidate to run the Sacramento City Unified School District.
The Sacramento board hired Banda at its meeting Thursday night. Nyland would start Aug. 1 with a contract — yet to be negotiated — that would run through June 2015.
The Seattle School Board will ratify Nyland’s contract at its Aug. 20 meeting.
The board expects to begin its search for a permanent superintendent in September, a process that will take most of the school year, with a decision reached in April or May.
Nyland could apply for the permanent job.