In the nearly 10 months since Jim Yovino became Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, he has demonstrated the skills, experience and personality to elevate educational attainment in our community.
Yovino took on a challenging assignment when he was appointed to the position and assumed command of the Office of Education on July 1.
His two predecessors, Larry Powell and Pete Mehas, relied on charismatic personalities and keen political instincts, as well as their thorough knowledge of education, to rise to the top.
Though less flamboyant than Powell and Mehas, Yovino quickly has put his own stamp on the office.
We recommend him to voters in the primary election that begins with mail balloting May 5 and concludes with voting at the polls June 3.
Before his appointment as superintendent, Yovino served six years as deputy superintendent. He also has been a teacher, athletic coach and principal, and has worked in the Fresno, Clovis, Dinuba and Central school districts. While with Central Unified, he had oversight of labor relations.
This breadth and depth of experience gives him insight into many of the challenges facing educators today.
What we like most about Yovino is that he is dedicated to helping youngsters break free from the poverty that grips too many people in Fresno County, where more than 70% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
His plan for helping students succeed in the classroom and in the community is this: expand early education, put in place world-class Career Technical Education programs, emphasize the arts, enhance programs to mentor at-risk youths, intervene at the first signs of trouble and promote civility.
Yovino is a keen listener. Last fall, he visited all 32 of the county's school districts, and he likely will meet with each of them again before the end of this school year.
Yovino earned his bachelor's degree and teaching credential at Fresno State, and was honored by the university as a Top Dog recipient in 2010.
He additionally holds a master's in education from Fresno Pacific.
The other candidate in the race is Juan Sandoval of Reedley, who qualified for the ballot on the last day possible and is running a low-profile campaign.
Fresno County residents should support Yovino on June 3.
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