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Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader's Claim
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 1 month ago on
April 22, 2024

In response to a public records request, Fresno Unified told GV Wire that it has no official superintendent succession plan. The response shot down a claim made by the district's human resources leader in early April. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

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Fresno Unified says it doesn’t have a superintendent succession plan even though a human resources leader pointed to one in her public comments to trustees earlier this month.

Assistant Superintendent of Labor Relations Annarita Howell said at the April 3 board meeting that trustees had previously approved a doctoral program to assist succession at sites.

“Let’s take some of those concepts, apply them to hiring a superintendent who knows this district from a variety of roles, my wondering is why we question that succession planning now you have been supporting for the last 10 years,” Howell said.

The district responded to a public records request made by GV Wire that they were unable to locate any records referenced by Howell.

Board president Susan Wittrup said at the following April 10 board that no succession plan for superintendent existed.

Click here to see the full video.

Hiring From Within Important for Smooth Transition: Howell

Howell said in her comments it was “fitting” that businessmen and politicians were weighing in on the superintendent search, considering the importance of having a strong succession plan. Howell spoke of the advantages of promoting from within. Howell declined to speak with GV Wire about her comments.

“Most CEOs have their successor trained and ready to promote to allow for a smooth transition,” Howell said. “Successful elected officials also understand the importance of growing up and knowing of the intricacies of the areas they serve.”

Fresno Unified’s current superintendent, Bob Nelson, will leave the position in July. Misty Her serves as the district’s deputy superintendent.

Many have called for Her to become the new superintendent. Others have called for a nationwide search to ensure the best candidate — whether internal or external — is hired to lead the district, which has long struggled with academic achievement.

Trustees on April 10 announced they would broaden the search to include external candidates. Trustees previously voted to keep the search internal. They still have not announced a plan.

In the board’s Wednesday agenda, the only item concerning the superintendent search is a closed session item.

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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.

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