The Fresno Unified board of trustees has chosen the consulting firm Leadership Associates to spearhead the national search for a new district superintendent.
The board heard from four different search firms during Wednesday night’s meeting: Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates; Leadership Associates; McPherson and Jacobson; and Ray and Associates. Each firm made a closed-door presentation to the board for 30 minutes. Only one firm was allowed in the room at a time.
Trustees wanted to know each firm’s timeline for recommending a top candidate for superintendent. The board also wants a process that includes the community’s input, especially the views of different ethnic groups. The board also wanted to hear from the firms on whether they would commit to focusing only on Fresno Unified during the search and avoid working on other searches.
Leadership Associates representatives told the board that the firm is wrapping up searches in San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento, but will have completed them by the time they start looking for candidates to become Fresno Unified’s next superintendent. The search will take three to four months, but can go longer depending on what the board wants.
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Board member Carol Mills moved to hire Leadership Associates, and that was seconded by trustee Christopher De La Cerda. All board members expressed satisfaction with the firm’s presentation, which included their local ties, experience with large districts and track record in hiring superintendents.
“I think that when you’re local and when you live local, like the people from Leadership Associates, I think you’re going to try a little harder,” said board president Brooke Ashjian.
Michael Hanson, Fresno Unified’s former superintendent, was terminated without cause in January after announcing in December that he planned to step down at the end of the school year. In the wake of Hanson’s dismissal, Bob Nelson was named the district’s interim superintendent.
The board began discussing the search process on Feb. 22. FUSD staff will present the contract for services to the board on April 19.