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Welcome interim superintendent Misty Her

Misty was born on March 5, 1975, in a small Prisoner of War camp in Laos during the final phases of the Vietnam War. Her father was involved in the CIA’s secret operations in Laos. The eldest of six siblings, Misty’s early life was marked by turmoil. Shortly after the war, her family attempted to resume farming, but her father was soon taken for “re-education” by the government—a fate from which many never returned. Fearing for their safety, the family fled to a refugee camp in Thailand, where they spent a year.

In 1980, at age five, Misty and her family relocated to the United States, initially settling in Garden Grove, California, before moving to Fresno. With no formal education and an inability to speak English, her parents chose Fresno for its agricultural opportunities, hoping to provide a better future for their children. It was here that Misty’s passion for education was nurtured through the support of teachers and mentors in the Fresno Unified School District. This early influence inspired her to pursue a career in education.

Misty attended Fresno State University, earning a BA in Liberal Studies and a master’s in administration and supervision. She started her educational career teaching grades two through six and progressed to become the first Hmong Vice Principal and, subsequently, the first Hmong Woman Principal in the United States. In 2011, she was appointed Instructional Superintendent for School Leadership in Fresno, overseeing educational programs and staff development across the district. Since 2021, Misty has served as the Deputy Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District.

In her Deputy Superintendent role, Misty is responsible for student achievement, analyzing performance data, and leading district improvements in curriculum, assessments, and community relations. She is also deeply involved in community service, serving on several boards and mentoring students throughout Fresno. Her contributions to education have been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2019 California Woman of the Year for Outstanding Service in Education and the 2022 Marjaree Mason Top Ten Woman Award.

Misty’s calling is to do educational missionary work, transforming the lives of children and families. She understands her decisions directly influence the paths of young minds she interacts with daily. Investing in and inspiring hope in our youth is profoundly powerful and necessary for success. Misty believes in the transformative power of education and is committed to inspiring hope and potential in the next generation.

  • Enhance student learning outcomes
    • Improve student outcomes and close the achievement gap for all students.
  • Foster robust engagement and trust
    • Establish and build transparency, trust, and collaboration amongst the board, leadership, staff, students, and the community at large.
  • Provide supports needed to succeed
    • Deeply understand the culture and climate of Fresno Unified, its instructional programs, and operational needs to effectively carry out the vision for the vibrant futures of Fresno Unified students.
  • Uphold fiscal stability and responsibility

Fresno Unified School District (FUSD), California’s third-largest school district, proudly announces the appointment of Misty Her as its new Interim Superintendent. This historic appointment marks a significant milestone as Misty Her becomes the first woman to lead the district since its inception in 1873. She will assume her new role following the adoption of her contract at the upcoming Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, May 8th.

Misty Her has dedicated her entire career to FUSD. Her journey within the district began as a student and now professionally spans over 30 years, progressing through roles from a bilingual instructional aide to a teacher, a site leader, an instructional leader, and eventually to Deputy Superintendent in 2021. Her extensive experience and deep commitment to Fresno Unified have profoundly impacted its success and the lives of its students.

Outgoing Superintendent Bob Nelson praised Misty Her’s appointment, stating, “Having her serve as a deputy has been one of the biggest factors in my extended term and success in this role. She simply makes things happen and is a relentless champion for kids.”

Interim Superintendent Her’s journey is nothing short of inspirational. Born in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Laos, her family escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand following the end of the Vietnam War. Eventually her family repatriated to the United States, settling in Fresno when she was a young student. Her unique experiences and first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by students from diverse backgrounds have shaped her into a passionate and effective leader. The schools Her led saw substantial gains in academic performance during her tenure.

As the nation’s highest-ranking Hmong K-12 educational professional, Misty Her’s leadership extends beyond the district. Her work has earned her numerous accolades, including the 2022 Marjaree Mason Top Ten Professional Women Award and the California Woman of the Year for Outstanding Service in Education in 2019.

In her new role, Interim Superintendent Her is committed to advancing educational excellence and equity throughout the district. “Fresno Unified is my life. From elementary school through more than three decades as an employee and a current Fresno Unified parent, my commitment runs deep. I am proud to serve our students and their families as one of their own. Our Fresno Unified family deserves a leader who is a successful Fresno Unified graduate, is committed to this community, and truly believes in our students and staff,” said Her.

The Board of Education also announced that it would begin a nationwide search for a permanent superintendent, a process that will also consider internal candidates. Upon Her’s assumption of the Interim Superintendent role next week, Superintendent Nelson will transition into an advisory role for the remainder of his time at Fresno Unified.

Misty Her’s leadership promises to continue improving student outcomes, closing the achievement gap, maintaining fiscal stability, and fostering a community of trust and collaboration within the district.

About Fresno Unified School District

Founded in 1873, Fresno Unified School District is the third-largest school district in California, serving more than 72,000 students. From pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, FUSD promotes students achieving their greatest potential by nurturing and cultivating the interests, intellect, and leadership of its students through an excellent, equitable education in a culturally proficient environment.

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