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Bob Nelson Breaks Silence on Fresno Unified Superintendent Search
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
April 11, 2024
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Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson (GV Wire)

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Bob Nelson broke his silence on the hunt for his successor.

In an exclusive interview with GV Wire, he talked about the search for Fresno Unified’s next superintendent.

“I’m curious to know where the board’s going to go with the whole situation … the key thing is just making sure that we have a steady transition, whatever that looks and feels like,” Nelson said minutes before Wednesday’s board meeting started.

Nelson is leaving the district on July 31 for a teaching position at Fresno State.

Nelson on Search Controversy

“I’ve had that recommendation made indirectly —  stay out of (search recommendations).”FUSD Superintendent Bob Nelson

The school board reversed course in its parameters to hire Nelson’s successor. Last month, the board gave direction to limit the search to internal candidates.

After community backlash — from elected leaders, union representatives, and GV Wire publisher Darius Assemi — the board announced Wednesday that it will expand the search to outside candidates as well.

Nelson said the school board has three functions — set policy, manage the budget, and hire and fire the superintendent.

“One has to defer to their desire as to what it is they want to do,” Nelson said. “I’m not sure there’s unanimity of belief on that. I think I’ll go back in today and just offer … they’ve made it really clear they don’t necessarily want support in that, and they don’t really want to be guided by any of the internal staff. In fact, I’ve had that recommendation made indirectly —  stay out of that. So we try to respect that and be respectful of it,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he is well aware of the controversy sparked by the board’s initial search plans. He had missed recent board meetings while on district-related travel.

“The difficult thing is this. (It) put us out there in some ways that don’t really talk favorably on the district, people deciding what it is that they want to do with Fresno,” Nelson said.

A picture of Bob Nelson, and historical list of Fresno Unified superintendents is on the lobby wall at FUSD. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Nelson Supports Misty Her

The district designated Deputy Superintendent Misty Her to become the interim successor if a full-time hire is not made before Nelson leaves. GV Wire’s Nancy Price reported that Her also was a leading candidate to succeed Nelson prior to the search’s halt.

GV Wire asked Nelson if he supported Her.

“For sure. I mean, we had a deputy with the intent of at least knowing — in my transition it was really complicated and really like full of fits and starts. We don’t need another one of those, right?” Nelson said.

The board hired Nelson as superintendent in 2017, replacing the fired Michael Hanson. Nelson had served as Hanson’s chief of staff. Previously, Nelson was superintendent of the Chawanakee Unified School District following a long career in Fresno Unified.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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