Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson, the second-longest-serving superintendent of the state’s 30 largest districts, resigned Monday, effective in August. Hanson, 51, has led Fresno, the state’s fourth-largest district – and one of its poorest – for nearly 12 years.
Hanson brought financial stability and change to the district in the heart of the economically struggling Central Valley. During his tenure, the percentage of students meeting admissions requirements to the state’s public universities doubled to 50 percent and the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses also doubled, while the student dropout rate fell by nearly half, to 11.7 percent
Hired to rescue the district from near bankruptcy, he helped the district weather the economic recession without layoffs. He then used revenue from the Local Control Funding Formula, which provides additional funding to low-income districts like Fresno, to significantly expand preschool and career technical partnerships in high schools, and to provide arts and after-school opportunities in all of the schools.
“The foundation has been laid, and I urge you to stay the course,” he wrote in a letter to district staff. “Continue to move forward, each of you, in the same diligent manner that has garnered our district improved academic achievement and national recognition.”