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Fresno Superintendent Takes His Militant Positivity to New Level in Thanking ‘Haters’



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Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson is known as a friendly and cheerful guy who, if he wasn’t heading the state’s third-largest school district, could make a good living as a used-car salesman. (Or so he has reportedly said.)

Check out my other School Zone columns at Nancy Price’s School Zone Facebook page.

One of his favorite catchphrases, usually accompanied by a hashtag, is Militant Positivity. Nelson seems determined to always find silver linings in clouds and make lemonade when he’s handed lemons. If he had a theme song, it probably would be “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” (Is there a ukulele version?)

In a recent post on one of his Facebook pages, Nelson carried his militant positivity to a new level when he talked about being thankful for being attacked by “haters.”

Nelson and the district have been under fire over the past year on a number of issues, including keeping schools closed to in-person instruction when other districts were open, the renaming of the Fresno High mascot, and the naming of the district’s new campus at Ventura Avenue and 10th Street.

He may have been channeling German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (whose adage “what does not kill me makes me stronger”) when he wrote the following:


(By the way, don’t call me a hater, Bob, but I’m pretty militantly positive that “vicious” doesn’t have that extra letter s.)

Also in School Zone: 

  • Golden Charter Academy gearing up for new school year.
  • Spark Tank winners talk about their community problem-solving projects.

Summer School for Teachers at This Charter

Teachers at Golden Charter Academy, Fresno’s newest charter school that will be in partnership with Fresno Chaffee Zoo, will have one of the more fun summer school assignments. In July, they’ll be spending a week at the zoo getting docent training, school CEO Robert Golden tells GV Wire.

Docents are volunteers who are thoroughly educated about zoo critters and their habitats and then share their knowledge with zoo visitors.

Golden Charter Academy teachers will need that education when the school opens for its first classes in August. The school will mix classroom lessons with zoo-based, hands-on experiences through environmental education.

The school is opening with grades TK-3 and then gradually adding grades until it tops off in a few years with grade 8.

There was some talk about a summer school for Golden Charter Academy, but Golden says that plan was shelved because new charters don’t qualify for state funding for summer school.

The school’s finances got a big boost Tuesday when Golden Charter Academy was awarded a $250,000 grant by the Charter School Growth Fund, which Golden says is “very exciting news for us.”

The Colorado nonprofit provides seed money to budding charters as well as grants to larger charter schools, targeting schools with growth potential and that provide school opportunities for underserved students.

Meanwhile, Golden Charter Academy’s School Board has some trustee appointments on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. Fresno Unified Trustee Keshia Thomas, who is Golden’s mother-in-law, is on tap for a retroactive appointment — her three-year term started July 2020 and will end in June 2023. Fresno Unified’s former chief financial officer and deputy superintendent, Ruthie Quinto, is being nominated for a three-year term that begins July 1 and ends in June 2024.

Spark Tank Pitch Fest Celebrates 2021 Winners

Winners of the 2021 Spark Tank competition hosted by the Fresno Pacific University Center for Community Transformation will be honored June 17 at a ceremony that’s open to the public.

The winners will talk about how their projects addressed and provided solutions to community problems through social enterprise. Each business received a full scholarship from the Lilly Foundation to attend the center’s Social Enterprise Academy.

Since 2013 Spark Tank has energized 58 social enterprises in the Valley that created jobs for more than 260 people, many of whom face employment challenges, and generated $3.7 million in income.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to allow for safe distancing practices. To register, go to

The Spark Tank Pitch Fest will be from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 17 at the Encore Amphitheater, located off Hamilton Avenue on the south side of the main campus in southeast Fresno.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email