Fresno Unified superintendent reflects on first year of leadership

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As high school graduates reflect on their time at Fresno Unified, the leader of the Valley's largest school district is also looking back.

It has been a year of tough obstacles.

"Sometimes that's the role of the superintendent, is just to try and keep the focus on children. It's a very political environment," said Superintendent Fresno Unified Bob Nelson.

Nelson came to this position after the very public and ugly ouster of his predecessor.

He immediately had to pacify the teacher's union by negotiating a new contract.

He also had to diffuse tensions between the LGBT community and then Board President Brooke Ashjian.

He says his approach is centered on positivity.

"Negativity is entirely optional in this journey, and I think being positive doesn't belie the fact we have big issues that have to be resolved still. The playing field is not equal for everyone," said Nelson.

Nelson says besides test scores --his focus next year is also on student safety, given a large number of school shootings and hoaxes around the country.

"We are going to start the year by providing active situation training for as many people as we can get ahold of because we can't pretend this is not happening," said Nelson.

Nelson has three more years left on his contract.

He says his focus remains to get his student's college and career ready.
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