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FUSD Trustees Name Misty Her as Interim Superintendent. National Search Yet to Start
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 3, 2024
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A newly unified FUSD School Board stands with Misty Her after announcing her appointment as interim superintendent. (GV Wire/Eric Martinez & FUSD)

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In a show of unity that has been absent in the Fresno Unified boardroom for more than a month, trustees voted 7-0 to appoint Deputy Superintendent Misty Her as the district’s interim superintendent, pending approval of a new contract.

Superintendent Bob Nelson will remain on hand, with a new job title and agreement spelling out his new duties that will include providing assistance as needed and helping with the handover of the reins of the state’s third-largest school district to Her.

After giving Her a standing ovation, the board members said Her’s job will be to keep the district moving forward in preparation for the new school year in August and for however long it might take them to select the permanent superintendent.

Her, one of the nation’s highest-ranking Hmong American school administrators, noted that she has a long history with the district, starting as a student, then after college as a teacher, vice principal, principal, instructional superintendent, deputy superintendent, and now interim superintendent.

“This experience and dedication has prepared me to lead the district from a holistic view, with an unapologetic focus on student growth and achievement,” she said. “We are not going to waver from this.”

Her said she was looking forward to a news conference scheduled for next Wednesday where she plans to share more about “myself, my passion and my priorities for my interim superintendent tenure.”

Experiences Prepared Her for Interim Role

Trustee Veva Islas noted that Her brings to the top job both her professional experiences as well as a background shared by many of the district’s 70,000 students.

“Misty’s lived experience allows her to relate to our disadvantaged students in a way that no other superintendent can. It is these qualities that I think pulls her to be very successful in our district, and I want to end by saying that even though this is not the permanent selection of our superintendent, everybody should be very excited about what her appointment to this position means,” Islas said.

The Fresno Unified board has been wrestling for weeks over its search for a new superintendent, including naming an interim superintendent. Nelson will remain with the district until July 31, when he will move on to a Fresno State faculty job.

The board held a special meeting Wednesday morning behind closed doors for several hours to discuss appointing an interim superintendent but emerged without anything to announce, other than another special meeting had been scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday. As it turns out, the board needed just 13 minutes in closed session Friday before they emerged and announced their vote to promote Her.

Turmoil Over Candidates

The board majority had agreed in March to interview initially only internal candidates and scheduled a special meeting on April 3 for the interviews. At that time Her was reported to have an inside track on replacing Nelson. She also had been “anticipated” to become the interim superintendent, according to the district news release in January announcing Nelson’s resignation.

But after Board President Susan Wittrup and other local leaders spoke out about the importance of conducting a statewide or national search for the new superintendent, the board voted 5-2 on April 3 to cancel the interviews and continue discussions on how to proceed with the superintendent search and transition.

Wittrup said during the news conference Friday that the district will be conducting a national search for the new superintendent, and that additional details will be provided at next week’s board meeting.

But until the search is concluded, the district will need an interim leader “who will continue to implement the important initiatives that the district is pursuing and who will ensure that we are fully prepared for the first day of school in the fall,” she said.

Nelson told GV Wire on Friday that his duties and responsibilities have not yet been spelled out, but he expects to undertake an advisory and mentoring role with Her, providing assistance as needed. Having Her in the top job will assist with the transition that the district is undergoing as the board conducts its national search, he said.

Will serving as interim superintendent give Her an inside track on the permanent job? “There’s value in that,” Nelson said.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
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

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