FUSD interim superintendent and finalist talks about hopes and challenges he will face if elected

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It is a critical turning point for the Fresno Unified School District and Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson is feeling optimistic as the frontrunner for the position. (KFSN)

It is a critical turning point for the Fresno Unified School District and Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson is feeling optimistic as the front runner for the position.

"The vast majority of my adult life has been wrapped up in Fresno Unified. It's an incredible honor to be able to serve the community and families here."

One of the first issues he has to address is the ongoing contract negotiations with the Teachers Union.

"We're looking for somebody who's really going to be investing in people and not programs, someone who is going to repair relationships. I think Bob could agree the relationship between the teachers and the district has been strained if not broken based on the past," said the President of Fresno Teachers Association, Tish Rice.

Nelson began serving as the interim early this year after former Superintendent Michael Hanson was fired. Now the Fresno Teachers Association wants to rebuild its relationship with the Superintendent's Office.

"What would make it different is if our potentially new Superintendent really works on finalizing a contract with the Fresno Teachers Association, so no longer a distraction to our classroom educators," said Rice.

After a week of swirling controversy in the district, Nelson will also be faced with leading a divided board.

"We have to be willing to stay in space with people in difficult conversations and not cut and run in those circumstances. Sometimes you have to work through things in order to achieve a level of collaboration that was not previously there."

The board said they are hoping to approve the districts next leader and Superintendent by August 23rd.

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