Dr. Jason Reynolds was selected Monday to become Peoria Unified School District’s next superintendent, starting July 1.
After about three hours of a closed executive session, the PUSD school board voted unanimously to select Reynolds, who received a standing ovation from the audience in the district’s board room.
Reynolds is the current PUSD deputy superintendent; he was hired in May. He will replace Linda Palles Thompson, who four months ago announced she will retire at the end of this school year.
Thompson’s announcement led to a national search. Reynolds was selected over superintendents from Michigan, New Mexico and Utah school districts. He said the appreciation and support he garnered from the district staff and community has been “overwhelming.”
“The support you have shown me, this isn’t about me coming to Peoria, this is about me becoming part of your family,” Reynolds said to the crowd.
Before moving to PUSD, Reynolds was the assistant superintendent of Leadership and Secondary Instruction in the Paradise Valley Unified School District, where he has served several roles since beginning his career in 1997. He was previously the director of Curriculum and Instruction, principal, assistant principal and teacher. He is also the president of the Arizona School Administrators Association, Educational Services Division.
The other PUSD superintendent finalists were Dr. Alexa Cunningham, superintendent of Salt Lake City School District in Utah Dr. Arsenio Romero, superintendent of Deming Public Schools in Deming, New Mexico; and Dr. Scott Menzel, superintendent of Washtenaw Intermediate School District in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
PUSD President Monica Ceja Martinez said Reynolds’ years of quality experience were a factor in his election, as well as the administrative choices he made while in different positions.
“When we look at the values of PUSD, we look at the integrity and character Dr. Reynolds holds, and it aligned directly,” she said. “He was very student-centric. All his decisions were based around students, and we can see him being innovative and helping us take the next step forward.”
In his current position as deputy superintendent, Reynolds works under Linda Palles Thompson, who took the role of superintendent in 2018; she has been employed by the district since 1990.
He said the lessons he has learned in mere months since starting his present role have been invaluable, and he is looking forward to gaining even more wisdom from the district veteran before her term ends
“We’re working together every single day, so hopefully it will help make the transition go smoothly,” Reynolds said.
While he will take some time to celebrate the election with friends and family, Reynolds now has his eyes set on how he can make an impact in a district he has grown to love.
“It’s an excellent district people recognize statewide and nationally and I’m just excited to continue to be a part of it, while seeing what we can keep doing to improve,” he said.