Bob Nelson to leave Fresno Unified for Fresno State

Fresno Unified will be on the hunt for a new superintendent after having just two people lead the district over the past 20 years.

Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson is leaving for a teaching position at Fresno State. 

FUSD announced Nelson’s plans on Monday. He will continue to serve as superintendent through July 31. 


The backstory: Nelson leaves the district after seven years as its leader, coming on in the interim in 2017 when Michael Hanson was axed by the Board of Trustees before taking over as the permanent superintendent. 

  • He had worked his way up with the district starting as a teacher, vice principal and principal before moving over to the district office, where he eventually became Hanson’s chief of staff. 

The big picture: Nelson has accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Fresno State in the Educational Leadership Division at the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. 

  • An exit from the district has been some time coming, as multiple sources told The Sun that Nelson was linked to an unspecified position at Stanford University late last year. 

What we’re watching: FUSD plans to have Deputy Superintendent Misty Her as the Interim Superintendent come August if a permanent superintendent has not been found by that time. 

What they’re saying: “Serving as the Superintendent in the District where I initially taught elementary school and first served as a leader has been the pinnacle of my career thus far,” Nelson said in a statement. “I have appreciated so very much getting to know our Fresno Unified family and having the daily opportunity to serve our amazing city and its children. I am thankful to have the opportunity to land in a future position where I can continue serving Valley educators as well.”

  • FUSD Board President Susan Wittrup said she is grateful for Nelson’s leadership and stability that he brought during his tenure. 
  • “His replacement has big shoes to fill,” Wittrup said. “Supt. Nelson built a foundation of financial health and strong student supports that sets the stage for a district in need of transformation. Our next superintendent must be ready to infuse innovation, urgency, and accountability to improve instruction and academic outcomes for all of our students.”
Related Posts