Fresno Unified to bring in 2 ex-Sanger district officials to help 14 schools

The Fresno BeeAugust 28, 2013 

Fresno Unified is hiring two former top leaders of the Sanger Unified School District to assist 14 Fresno schools that need additional help closing student achievement gaps.

Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson told the district's trustees Wednesday night that former Sanger Unified Superintendent Marcus Johnson and former Deputy Superintendent Rich Smith are being retained to assist 14 elementary schools that need extra help.

Hanson said Johnson and Smith are experts at implementing programs to improve achievement.

Johnson, who was Sanger Unified's superintendent from 2003 to earlier this year, was named National Superintendent of the Year in 2011 for overseeing an impressive turn-around in that district's academic achievement.

Johnson and Smith are part of the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute, which is based at California State University, Fresno.

The institute will be paid $250,000 from federal Title I funds freed up by Fresno Unified's recent waiver from federal accountability standards, Hanson said. The Title I dollars are designated for tutoring and other programs.

To qualify for the waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind rules, the district had to propose an alternative plan to prepare students for college and a career.

In other action: Hanson lauded what he said was "our most complete and thorough opening in the nine years I've been here." He said there have been few reports of problems in the district.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6279 or jrayburn@fresnobee.com.

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