Fresno, Calif. - Wednesday night Fresno Unified School District welcomed two newly elected school board members and started preparing for life without FUSD Superintendent Michael Hanson. Elizabeth Jonasson Rosa and Claudia Cazares were sworn-in at Fresno Unified's school board meeting. As new members of the school board they hope to inspire positive change for the district going forward.
Both new school board members ran on platforms demanding more transparency from school district leaders. Wednesday night they helped elect a new board president and plan to be a part of selecting the next superintendent.
Sworn in and assuming their seats on Fresno Unified's school board Jonasson Rosas and Cazares hope to usher in a new era for California's fourth largest school district.
"I think it's an important time in the school board history and I'm just excited to get in there and work," said Jonasson Rosas.
"We want to make some changes because we see how behind statistically our children still are," said Cazares.
Wasting no time, the two newest school board members helped elect Brooke Ashjian as the new board president. Ashjian believes his new colleagues are up for the challenge.
"As a trustee it's a 50/50 balance. 50-percent of your time is focused on children and 50-percent of your time is watching over the tax payer dollars you've been entrusted with," said Ashjian.
Another challenge ahead of the new school board is finding someone who will build on the work of Superintendent Hanson who will step down this summer.
"The transformation from a place that people laughed about 12 years ago, that people mocked 11 and a half 12 years ago to a place where now people want to come work," Hanson said to the room full of people at Wednesday night's FUSD meeting.
Hanson recently received a positive review in a split vote and has faced criticism and controversy. Board President Ashjian had this to say about hanson's decision to resign.
"I don't know that there is ever a good time. I wish the superintendent a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year," Ashjian said.
Former Fresno Unified school board member, now city councilman Luis Chavez expects a national search for the next superintendent to begin immediately. The board will have to decide if they want to hire a candidate right away or go with an interim-superintendent to give them more time in their search.