Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson announced today he will step away from the position he’s held since 2005, planning to leave in August 2017. Hanson tells GV Wire in an interview that he wants to hand off the district while things are going well.
“I’ve done this work for 12 years, which is pretty significant,” Hanson says. He also mentioned the timing coincides with his children’s educational progress. One is in college, one will graduate from Edison High School in the spring and his youngest will finish sixth grade.
“Those transition points weighed heavily for my wife and I. Primarily though, the work of the district is going very well. I didn’t feel I would be abandoning ship, so to speak.”
Hanson cited academic success, a robust budget, access for all students, new school construction, and collaboration with the City of Fresno and other community groups as some of his achievements.
“It’s a good time to go, if I’m going to go,” Hanson responded whether he was leaving while on top.
Hanson does not have immediate post-Fresno Unified plans. He plans to discuss with his wife his future during the winter break. He said he was not interested in the vacant superintendent job in the Oakland Unified School District.
“I don’t see myself jumping from Fresno Unified to another superintendency immediately. I don’t rule out doing another superintendency at all,” Hanson said.
Hanson has had his detractors over the years over construction spending. The district is currently under FBI investigation for its controversial lease-leaseback system. He tells GV Wire he has put that issue behind him.
“The only person who talks about it is one of my board members,” Hanson said. Hanson went on to say the issue hasn’t crossed his mind. “When I don’t hear anything in over a year and a half, I consider the matter closed.”
As far as advice in picking the next Fresno Unified superintendent, Hanson recommends: someone who has some urgency in serving all students; someone who is willing to make hard calls in pursuit of serving all students; and to make sure the money invested is going to the right places.
“It is an awesome job. It is a complicated job. It is a difficult job. But it is one I wouldn’t trade for the world. They need to look for someone who really has a fire in the belly who has an advocacy for youth. “