Fresno Unified approves nationwide search for next superintendent 

After pressing pause on the internal candidate interview process last week, the board voted Wednesday to launch an external superintendent search.

Fresno Unified School District is officially moving ahead with conducting both an external and internal search for its next superintendent. 

The decision comes after significant public pressure swayed the board over in recent weeks to expand the search after initially looking to replace outgoing Superintendent Bob Nelson with internal candidates. 


The big picture: The FUSD Board of Trustees decided at its Wednesday meeting to open the search up during closed session. 

  • How the district conducts its nationwide search remains to be seen, since the trustees did not reveal their plan in the early stages of the process. 
  • The board had previously contracted Leadership Associates to help assist in the internal search, but the board has not yet found a search firm for the nationwide search. 
  • Leadership Associates pulled itself out of the district after the board decided to not move forward with interviewing internal candidates last week. 

The backstory: Last week the board had been set to interview internal candidates for superintendent, with Deputy Superintendent Misty Her widely speculated as the favorite for the position. 

  • But following significant public pressure and outcry, Trustee Claudia Cazares flipped her vote to support a nationwide search, keeping the district from moving forward with candidate interviews. 

What they’re saying: “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,” Board President Susan Wittrup said after closed session. “The process will also include community participation. Further updates about the process and the timeline will be provided at subsequent board meetings.”

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