On July 1st, Jim Yovino will begin serving the remainder of an 18 month term left vacant by Superintendent Larry Powell, when he announced plans to retire after 43 years in education.
"I'm just so proud to move into this seat and finish Larry's term," said Yovino, in front of a packed house at the Fresno County Board of Education meeting. "I can't say enough about this organization."
As a champion for the success of all children, Yovino said he'll continue to advocate for the arts, giving kids more options in every school.
He also plans to step up efforts to promote Career Technical Education, allowing more students to discover their passion as they prepare for higher education or to enter the workforce.
"Career Technical Education is one of the most important things we can do for our children," said Yovino. "In Fresno, we have a wonderful program. We have lots of classes that are offered, but now it's time to say we can get those in the hands of every child in Fresno County and we can."
Yovino said his biggest focus of all will be on attendance and dropout rates and he's devised a plan to partner with local businesses to establish a mentoring program to help the county's most vulnerable students.
"One of the unique things about Mr. Yovino is he grew up on the Westside," said outgoing Superintendent Larry Powell. "His parents lost their lives early so he had an African-American family that pretty much adopted him, so he has a sensitivity for dropout kids and as you know we have a disproportionate number of African-American and Mexican-American students who dropout."
Powell said Yovino is devoted to taking care of these kids and helping them earn a diploma.
"As a result, I think families, for generations to come, will be positively impacted," said Powell.
The two will now head to an end-of-the-year meeting in Long Beach where Powell will introduce Yovino to the other Superintendents.
"It's a four day meeting, closes out the year, gets ready for the next year, looks at the Governor's budget and so he'll get a chance to see what it's like from the inside of all the counties, 58 superintendents and then help make decisions for all of us together," said Powell.
As for Powell, he said his last day in the office is today. He now plans to focus his attention on acting, motivational speaking and writing.
"It's nice to be at this point in my career," he said. "43 years. It feels like I just started, but I'm looking forward to the next part of it. From retirement to "refirement," he said.