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Fresno Unified School District hires two African American male principals this month

By ONME Newswire

Fresno, CA--Fresno Unified School District hired six principals during the May 6 FUSD board meeting; two of them were African American males: Tobaise Brookins is now the new principal of Kirk Elementary School, and Courtney Curtis, new principal of Bud Gaston Middle School.

Historically African American students have been the lowest performing ethnic cohort in Fresno Unified School District for the past 20+ years. The hiring of two African-American male principals is an initial effort to improve African American student academic outcomes throughout the district.

Tobaise Brookins - a veteran educator and spiritual community advocate on the move

Bookins, who served as the vice-principal of Fort Miller Middle School for six years under principal, Abraham Olivares, has been an educator for over 20+ years: he holds master’s degrees in education and special education, teaching special education students in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 12 years and also in the New York Public School District.

During his personal time, Bookins serves the spiritual community as pastor of large, diverse congregation, The Bethesda Churches. Bookins, originally from Los Angeles County, moved to the San Joaquin Valley with the encouragement of his mentor, the late senior pastor of Bethesda, Bishop Henry L. Johnson, founder of the Bethesda Church. By 2014, Bookins was able to quickly establish two locations for the church congregation: Bethesda Southeast and Bethesda River Park.

Bookins is also the father of three daughters and husband to wife, Dr. Antionette Bookins, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist who owns her own practice called Destination Hope Counseling and Enrichment Center, which specializes in Christian counseling.

Experienced Courtney Curtis dives into principal position at Bud Gaston Middle School

Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Curtis has resided in Fresno, CA since 2006, accumulating 15 years of experience in education: 10 years as a FUSD middle school and high school history teacher and five years in an administrative role, serving three years as a Hoover High School vice principal and 2 years at the FUSD district office in School Leadership as a vice principal on special assignment.

"I have wanted to be a teacher and principal since I was in the 7th grade due to the great teachers I had, said Curtis.  "I am excited to finally reach my life-long dream."

Curits received his Bachelor of Arts degree in social science, his Master of Educational Leadership degree and administrative credentials. He was a part of the original planning team for Gaston Middle School as a teacher on special assignment from 2013 to 2014.  Curtis then served as the lead history teacher at Bud Gaston Middle School from 2014 to 2015.  Several years later, he became the interim principal at Bud Gaston Middle School from 2019 to 2020. 

From serving as a dynamic, experienced teacher to now principal, Curtis is ready to continue the legacy of Bud Gaston Middle School.

"...We are in year 6 of Gaston’s existence in the Edison Region," said Curtis in his Principal's Message, "and work each day to shine as a positive force in the lives of children and the community of Southwest Fresno."



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