Paradise Valley school district superintendent resigns due to threats
PHOENIX — The Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board unanimously accepted the resignation of Superintendent Jesse Welsh during a special meeting on Monday.
Correspondingly, James P. Lee was appointed as the acting superintendent.
Lee previously served as the PVUSD superintendent for 10 years before retiring in 2019, when Welsh took over the role.
“We appreciate Dr. Welsh’s contributions to our PVSchools community and his dedication to meeting the educational needs of all our students,” Governing Board President Anne Greenberg said in a press release.
“We thank him for his service and his support of our extraordinary educators, staff, students, and families.”
Welsh’s resignation comes after both he and his family received threats from people who wish to keep the district open to in-person learning, according to ABC15.
“I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity and honor that has been afforded to me by the Board to serve the PVSchools community,” Welsh said in the release. “It has been my privilege to work with the caring and talented educators in our district.
“I am proud of the work we have done to protect our students, teachers and families, while providing learning options that meet families’ needs.”
With the district currently having two of three benchmarks in red, all students were switched to remote learning on Nov. 23.
The Arizona Department of Health Services created benchmarks for schools and businesses using three metrics that gauge how widespread the coronavirus is in each county — cases per 100,000 residents, percent positivity for diagnostic testing and percentage of hospital visits for COVID-like illnesses.
The schools benchmarks were designed as guidance for K-12 districts in their decisions about opening levels. Districts, however, have the final say in whether they offer virtual, hybrid or traditional learning formats.
Arizona has seen a surge in coronavirus cases. On Monday, state health officials reported 1,567 cases and zero deaths, bringing the documented totals to 365,843 COVID-19 infections and 6,950 fatalities.