Fresno School Board candidate Kurt Madden told GV Wire on Thursday that he’s dropping his campaign for the Bullard High Area 7 Trustee seat in November’s election.
But there’s still three candidates in the race, at least for now: educator Terri L. Edwards, who filed her candidate intention statement on March 4; longtime school psychologist Susan Wittrup, who declared her candidacy last July; and incumbent Terry Slatic.
Slatic told GV Wire on Thursday that, contrary to reports circulating in the community that he is ending his candidacy, he had not made a final decision.
“Things are up in the air, we’re seeing how things play out over the next few months,” he said.
When asked if he was having difficulty raising campaign contributions, Slatic said he doesn’t worry about his own campaign contributions.
“I’m worried about campaign contributions for the people that will be unseating all these other trustees,” he said, referring to the three other trustee races on November’s ballot.
As of Thursday, Slatic’s campaign reported no contributions through December 2021.
Big Lead in Donations
The clear frontrunner in campaign donations is Wittrup, who reported raising more than $117,000 in donations and a loan through December 2021 — an unprecedented amount for a School Board race.
Slatic won the plurality of the votes cast in November 2018, beating Nasreen Johnson, who is now serving on the State Center Community College District board; Edwards, then an administrator with Fresno Unified’s Parent University; and parent Amanda Karabian.
Edwards could not be reached for comment Thursday.
In an email to GV Wire on Friday, Edwards said she retired from Fresno Unified in 2020 and is currently a faculty advisor with CalState TEACH, supporting potential Fresno Unified teachers.
She said she has had a long connection with Fresno Unified as a student, parent, and employee, and added that “education has been my lifelong passion.” Edwards said that even though she did not win in 2018, she never stopped considering another run “especially considering the community concern of representation in my area (the Bullard region).”
Madden retired last year as the district’s chief technology officer to head Career Nexus, a nonprofit that connects young adults with internships and job training opportunities.
The internship program is a community initiative of the Fresno Business Council and one of the 19 initiatives of Fresno DRIVE, a 10-year investment plan supported by the Central Valley Community Foundation to develop the area’s economy and make it more sustainable and equitable.
Focusing on Career Nexus
Madden told GV Wire that he made his decision to withdraw his candidacy after consulting with family, friends, and mentors.
“As an optimistic lifelong learner, I seem compelled to continue saying ‘Yes’ when it comes to volunteering and taking risks. And do so with rare regrets,” he said in an email. “However, I now realize that tackling the increasing challenges in the race and continuing to grow Career Nexus, the nonprofit we launched a year ago, is something that cannot be done well together — at least not by me. Making this decision was not easy. This is one of those times when I remember the old saying, ‘I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.’ ”
He said he has not decided whether to throw his support behind any of the candidates, noting that Wittrup and Edwards are “both good people, it’s hard to decide.”