We’ll analyze the week’s top stories on the Friday NewsCap.
Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board Names Amy Fuller Acting Superintendent
The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board appointed an acting superintendent late Tuesday night.
Amy Fuller, an administrator helping oversee changes at Coronado High School, will fill the district’s top job.
Fuller is an administrator in the district. Most recently she’s been helping oversee a project to turn around Coronado High School, a school labeled as under performing. The district hired Fuller in April 2017.
The district has pointed to signs of progress like more students filling out college applications. As of Feb. 14, 93 students had applied to the state’s public universities, an increase from the 57 that applied the year before.
That plan also wasn’t without controversy. All staff had to reapply for their jobs. And the Scottsdale Charros, a partner in the effort, reported two-thirds of the staff was new this school year.
The project has been one of Birdwell’s main initiatives since starting in the district full time a year ago.
The governing board met in executive session just after 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The agenda said the board would discuss the legal claim filed by the Arizona attorney general, employee contracts and salaries with their attorney.
Board President Barbara Perleberg had little to say at the end of the 10-hour meeting.
“We’re going to be working very hard obviously to move forward in our district. Thank you,” Perleberg said as she walked out into the rain a little after 11 p.m.
The board voted to suspend construction on Hohokam Elementary School and Central Kitchen projects and directed their attorney Michelle Marshall to explore terminating all contracts related to the projects.
Both projects had ties to architecture firm Hunt and Caraway. Its then-employee Brian Robichaux was hired as the district’s principal architect despite not being licensed and a prior felony conviction.
Marshall was also directed to move forward on an agreement with the attorney general relating to the lawsuit filed last week. Marshall said Wednesday she was unable to provide more detail, but that the district looked forward to a resolution.
A statement from the district earlier in the day clarified Superintendent Denise Birdwell and Chief Operating Officer Louis Hartwell are on leave.
“They each have contracts with the district, and must be afforded due process under the law. We are working diligently to comply with the law and to address the serious concerns about the allegations involving both employees,” the statement read.
Hartwell’s departure was announced Feb. 13 and the governing board accepted his resignation the following week. His contract ends June 30.
The district also provided a statement from SUSD board President Barbara Perleberg who has declined to comment on recent decisions.
“The governing board will continue to work diligently with outside legal counsel, and in cooperation with the attorney general, to determine additional appropriate actions that are in the best interest of the district.
"As board members we do not, nor should we, use news media or social media to comment on specific legal matters involving personnel. Our lack of commentary should not be taken as a lack of concern or action. The district remains committed to a fair, legal due process, reliant on facts.
“As we work to move forward, the Governing Board is focused on restoring confidence in SUSD, while also respecting the incredible work done by our staff, principals and educators this past year.”