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Superintendent Michael Hanson announces resignation

Superintendent Michael Hanson announced his resignation after 12 years on December 12.

Daniel Clark, Copy Editor

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Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson announced that he plans to step down from his position in a speech to the district’s principals on Monday, December 12.

Though the district board voted to renew his contract until 2021, Hanson will be leaving his position at the end of the 2016-17 school year, meaning that a new superintendent will sign on beginning in August 2017.

The news comes at the end of a difficult year for Hanson, who has led Fresno Unified since 2005. 2016 saw the beginning of an FBI investigation into Hanson’s controversial contracts with construction companies, including teams working to build Gaston Middle School and improve Fresno and Bullard High Schools.

The address was an emotional one in which Hanson vowed not to “stop fighting for kids.” Despite his emotions, Hanson was adamant in upholding his name against critics who allege that he was pressured into stepping down or is seeking to escape justice with regards to the investigation. “I don’t feel like I’m running from a thing. I feel like I’m leaving something dramatically better than I found it.” This claim does have a basis in reality: Hanson’s initiatives have improved the district’s graduation rate and provided considerable aid to the majority of Fresno Unified students who fall below the poverty line.

In his speech, Hanson specifically criticized the Fresno Teachers Association and the Fresno Bee, both of whom have expressed their grievances towards Hanson in recent months in relation to the investigation and scandal. He claimed that the demands of the FTA, who have repeatedly called for Hanson to resign, were unreasonable, and that the Fresno Bee disliked him.

“Twelve years is a long time [to serve as superintendent],” he reminded the audience. Hanson plans to take the next few years to spend time with his family and others whom he feels have been side swept by his professional career in those twelve years.

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