PUSD honors retiring superintendent

By ERIN BRASSEY
Foothills Focus Staff Writer

The Peoria Unified School District Governing Board emotionally honored Superintendent Linda Palles Thompson at her last meeting before her July 1 retirement.

With lots of happy and nostalgic comments floating around the “remote” meeting, Governing Board President David Sandoval said, “You are loved by many, without question.”

Thompson has been superintendent for the past three years and has been with the district for three decades.

Peoria Unified School District, headquartered in Glendale, serves more than 30,000 students in the two cities. Dr. Jason Reynolds is the district’s new superintendent. (He was previously deputy superintendent.)

In a video compiled to thank Thompson, the governing board members gave praise and thanks.

“As a governing board member, it has been a real pleasure working with you. Enjoy your retirement. You really deserve it,” Beverly Pingerelli said.

Judy Doane explained that her time working with Thompson has been filled with inspiration for herself and, she imagines, the rest of the district.

“She has had the courage to make tough decisions and the heart to make the right decisions,” Doane said.

Monica Ceja Martinez said she is very grateful for not only what Thompson did for the district but also what she did personally.

“I remember the first time I met you, the way you made me feel was phenomenal,” she said.

Martinez went on to thank Thompson for “helping me grow as a leader.”

Governing Board Clerk Cory Underhill said she felt fortunate to know Thompson.

“These few years have been challenging both for our community and for you personally and through it all, you’ve never faltered,” Underhill said. “You’ve continued to be brave, to support us, to share all the joys, the frustrations, the sometimes anger, the tears and of course the laughter. And through it all, you have always shared your humanity and your gift for getting us to share ours.”

Thompson was touched by the nice comments and thoughts sent to her both through the video and spoken during the meeting.

“It’s been an amazing voyage,” she said. “It’s been that way because of our children, the thousands of children, our community, certainly our staff, certainly my cabinet, that you have been absolutely amazing and my board.”

She explained that she wants to continue being involved in the district as a parent, grandparent and volunteer.

The district plans to honor Thompson’s work with a plaque at the Smart Center that she worked on putting together as well as a garden dedicated in her name at Copperwood Elementary School.

Before moving on to the rest of the meeting, Doan asked, “Can we do a standing ovation from remote?”

Without hesitation, the meeting filled up with applause.