PHOENIX — Paradise Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Jesse Welsh will leave his position after the district board unanimously accepted his resignation Monday afternoon.
"It has been my privilege to work with the caring and talented educators in our district," Welsh said in a statement. "I am proud of the work we have done to protect our students, teachers, and families, while providing learning options that meet families’ needs.”
The school district has not officially said why Welsh chose to resign as superintendent, but he has allegedly received threats after recently making the decision to move schools to an online-only learning model.
The Phoenix Police Department says they have responded to Welsh’s address for a harassment call.
“It’s a difficult decision,” said Anne Greenberg, PVUSD's Governing Board president. “It came after careful consideration, discussions over the last many days and we are unfortunately in a pandemic situation that’s created challenges.”
“We as a board as a district truly appreciate Dr. Welsh’s contributions to our community to our schools, his true dedication to the educational experience of all of our students.”
PVUSD closed classrooms just before Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases rise across the state.
Welsh sent a letter to families after making the decision and pointed out the district’s increase in percent positivity.
“It’s a tough decision for everybody,” Welsh said in the letter. “We’d obviously really like to be back for the second semester and be back in-person at that time. We will continue to watch those metrics and hopefully, we see cases go down and we can do that.”
The school district agreed to pay Welsh a single payment of over $413,000 in severance after ending his contract.
The district board appointed Dr. James P. Lee as interim superintendent for the time being.
Lee retired from PVSchools last summer after a 10-year tenure as superintendent.
Welsh oversaw the district serving 32,000 students since July 1, 2019. He was previously the assistant superintendent of the Clark County School District in Las Vegas.
Read Welsh's full statement below:
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