Three candidates are running to become Fresno County’s new Superintendent of Schools.
Alphabetically by last name, Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher, Eliseo Gamino, and Daren Miller are all hoping to lead Fresno County’s 32 school districts.
Michele Cantwell-Copher currently serves as the assistant superintendent in the Office of Education Leadership and Development in Fresno County.
She said she started her career as a teacher in 1990, before going on to work in administration in Clovis Unified, Central Unified, and the State Center Community College District.
“I grew up in Riverdale and that’s important because I understand the rural perspective. And the role of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools influences all 32 school districts and I’ve had experience in our urban schools as well. So I really do have the depth and the breath of the experience to take on this responsibility” Cantwell-Copher said.
Cantwell-Copher said she has the relationships already in place to continue working on what Yovino has already built. She added she believes schools are community centers, and uplifting children helps communities prosper.
Eliseo Gamino is a Raisin City Dual Immersion teacher who also serves on Firebaugh-Las Deltas School District Board. Now, he’s running to be the top educator in Fresno County.
“From being teacher of the year in 2021, from being in the classroom to an administrator, to being an associate dean at the community college level, it’s given me the experience to lead us in the area of education,” Gamino said.
Gamino said a top priority for him is making sure all students can succeed. He said the pandemic highlighted many flaws in the system and showed who got left behind. Gamino said more needs to be done to help those struggling with reading and math, including special needs students and those whose first language isn’t English.
“I think we can learn a lot from the pandemic in hindsight but again, our most vulnerable groups are the ones that suffer the most,” Gamino said.
Daren Miller serves as the Vice Principal at Glacier Point Middle School in the Central Unified School District. He added, that he has worked in multiple other districts over the years as an educator and administrator.
“I think it’s a sum total of those experiences in education that I’ve had all here in Fresno metropolitan area that makes me a great candidate for this position,” Miller said.
He said a top priority if elected will be helping the school districts into a new era after the pandemic. He said they must address issues with how to move forward with online and remote learning.
“For us to have dead spots where you can’t get Wi-Fi accessibility in the city of Fresno, is embarrassing to me, and I know there’s a role the county superintendent can play by making sure that we’re bolstering our technological infrastructure,” he added.