Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno Unified Trustees Expand Superintendent Search to Include External Candidates
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 1 month ago on
April 10, 2024
Play Video

FUSD Trustee Andy Levine and Deputy Superintendent Misty Her at the School Board meeting, Wednesday, April10, 2024. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

With a plan yet to be developed, Fresno Unified trustees decided Wednesday to do both an internal and external search for Superintendent Bob Nelson’s replacement.

“The board is considering options for the superintendent search process and for purposes of transparency, the board will proceed with an external search for qualified candidates,” said board President Susan Wittrup. “The process will also include community participation. Further updates about the process and the timeline will be provided at subsequent board meetings.”

Trustees would not say what that process to find the new superintendent looks like. Wittrup called for a unified approach to finding a superintendent.

“We cannot allow fragmented, competing interests to continue to play bumper cars, we have to join together, ground ourselves and follow a process. I have faith that this board will do that and that we are committed to doing that,” Wittrup said.

Trustees Call for Transparent Process: What That is Yet Isn’t Clear

Trustees were supposed to return from their closed session by 6 p.m., but it wasn’t until 7:20 p.m. that the board returned and Wittrup made the announcement. Trustees Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas and Claudia Cazares declined interviews.

While Trustee Keshia Thomas did attend the beginning of the meeting remotely, after trustees returned from closed session, she was marked absent from votes during public session.

Trustee Veva Islas said the decision came in response to what community members had been requesting. Islas said no process has been determined.

Islas said the board would report after every closed session item discussing the superintendent search.

The board still needs to find a search firm to guide the process, Islas said. Glendora-based Leadership Associates handled the community input process originally. Following the board’s decision to pause candidate interviews April 4, the search firm withdrew itself from conducted a wider search, calling it “compromised.”

Wittrup said the firm had compromised the process by providing an incomplete picture of what participants in community listening sessions wanted.

Islas said they want to be clear with what they expect from the next firm, but the board hasn’t fully decided what they want yet.

“We still haven’t defined that, I think there is us really being clear with the next firm about what we want and what we’re expecting them to deliver,” Islas said.

What Do Trustees Want from Next Superintendent?

Islas said the next superintendent needs to “right the ship” when it comes to student education.

“We need to continue to strive to figure out how we improve that so we can ensure that all students in Fresno Unified have the best opportunity to go on to successful careers,” Islas said.

While board members called for a “external search,” Islas would not say whether that still included internal candidates.

“There has been no definitive decisions other than there is general agreement that we need to expand the search so that was clear tonight,” Islas said. “That’s the best way we can be transparent.”

Community Calls for Transparency, Outlined Plan

Kay Bertkin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Fresno said at the meeting the board could repair the damage done by their previous approach by moving quickly.

“It should be the board’s number one priority over the next weeks to agree on a renewed and transparent process,” Bertkin said.

Manuel Bonilla, president of the Fresno Teachers Association, said the decision was one that should have been made weeks ago. He added the decision didn’t come until after community outcry.

“It’s unfortunate that slim majority (of trustees) put this community through this process,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla said it was frustrating that a plan still isn’t in place. He said it feels more “piecemeal” as opposed to a unified plan.

When Long Beach Unified School District chose its next superintendent, the succession plan was discussed in public during Board of Education meetings, according to Elvia Cano, director of communications and public information for the district.

The district handled their own search and laid out the steps of the process.

The advisory committee selected by the board also held its meetings in public.

Community forums were streamed live via YouTube.

Bonilla said he wanted to see a public forum with the finalists, as State Center Community College District did.

“When it’s down to two, three people we want to know as a community what is that person’s vision,” Bonilla said.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued Over Alleged 2003 Sexual Assault

DON'T MISS

Petrochemical Company Fined $30M for 2019 Houston Explosions

DON'T MISS

Fresno Has Big Plans for Chukchansi Park Lot. Do They Even Own It?

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Football Welcomes Six Transfers to the Roster

DON'T MISS

California Health Sciences University Celebrates Inaugural Doctors Graduation Ceremony

DON'T MISS

The Rumble in the Valley: Old Town Clovis Motorama

DON'T MISS

Use Your Library Card for Free Admission to Millerton Lake. For a Few More Weeks, Anyway.

DON'T MISS

A Radical Lesson From El Salvador to Solve Fresno Housing & Homeless Crisis

DON'T MISS

US Open Champ Coco Gauff Urges Young Americans to Vote: ‘Use the Power That We Have’

DON'T MISS

Graceland Not for Sale, Elvis Presley’s Granddaughter Riley Keough Affirms in Lawsuit

UP NEXT

Petrochemical Company Fined $30M for 2019 Houston Explosions

UP NEXT

Fresno Has Big Plans for Chukchansi Park Lot. Do They Even Own It?

UP NEXT

Fresno State Football Welcomes Six Transfers to the Roster

UP NEXT

California Health Sciences University Celebrates Inaugural Doctors Graduation Ceremony

UP NEXT

The Rumble in the Valley: Old Town Clovis Motorama

UP NEXT

Use Your Library Card for Free Admission to Millerton Lake. For a Few More Weeks, Anyway.

UP NEXT

A Radical Lesson From El Salvador to Solve Fresno Housing & Homeless Crisis

UP NEXT

US Open Champ Coco Gauff Urges Young Americans to Vote: ‘Use the Power That We Have’

UP NEXT

Graceland Not for Sale, Elvis Presley’s Granddaughter Riley Keough Affirms in Lawsuit

UP NEXT

UN Halts Food Distribution in Rafah Due to Supply Shortage

Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

Fresno State Football Welcomes Six Transfers to the Roster

11 hours ago

California Health Sciences University Celebrates Inaugural Doctors Graduation Ceremony

12 hours ago

The Rumble in the Valley: Old Town Clovis Motorama

12 hours ago

Use Your Library Card for Free Admission to Millerton Lake. For a Few More Weeks, Anyway.

14 hours ago

A Radical Lesson From El Salvador to Solve Fresno Housing & Homeless Crisis

15 hours ago

US Open Champ Coco Gauff Urges Young Americans to Vote: ‘Use the Power That We Have’

15 hours ago

Graceland Not for Sale, Elvis Presley’s Granddaughter Riley Keough Affirms in Lawsuit

16 hours ago

UN Halts Food Distribution in Rafah Due to Supply Shortage

16 hours ago

Ricky Stenhouse Faces Suspension for Punching Kyle Busch After All-Star Race

16 hours ago

Scarlett Johansson Says ChatGPT Voice Is ‘Eerily Similar’; OpenAI Halts Its Use

16 hours ago

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued Over Alleged 2003 Sexual Assault

NEW YORK — A former model accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of sexually assaulting her at his New York City recording studio in 2003 in a lawsuit f...

7 hours ago

7 hours ago

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Sued Over Alleged 2003 Sexual Assault

9 hours ago

Petrochemical Company Fined $30M for 2019 Houston Explosions

10 hours ago

Fresno Has Big Plans for Chukchansi Park Lot. Do They Even Own It?

11 hours ago

Fresno State Football Welcomes Six Transfers to the Roster

12 hours ago

California Health Sciences University Celebrates Inaugural Doctors Graduation Ceremony

Classic Chevelle Old Town Motorama 24 Clovis California
12 hours ago

The Rumble in the Valley: Old Town Clovis Motorama

14 hours ago

Use Your Library Card for Free Admission to Millerton Lake. For a Few More Weeks, Anyway.

Conversations on a Bench — Fresno
15 hours ago

A Radical Lesson From El Salvador to Solve Fresno Housing & Homeless Crisis

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend