Chad Wilson

“I am beyond grateful the EVIT board stood firmly behind me despite fundamentally flawed allegations,’’

Chad Wilson is back as the East Valley Institute of Technology’s superintendent – not that he ever left the regional vo-tech campus.

The EVIT board voted 8-0 to reinstate Wilson’s title after the state Attorney General’s Office decided to drop charges of misuse of public monies and theft stemming from his tenure as Apache Junction superintendent.

The Attorney General’s move was without prejudice – leaving open the possibility the charges could be refiled again after further investigation.

The key for Wilson’s reinstatement was his fingerprint clearance card, required under the terms of his contract. The card automatically was suspended when Wilson was indicted on the theft charge.

Instead of taking action against Wilson, the EVIT board gave him a new job title, director of external affairs, which did not require him to possess the clearance card.

“I am beyond grateful the EVIT board stood firmly behind me despite fundamentally flawed allegations,’’ Wilson said in a prepared statement release by EVIT. “Being an educator is the most important community work I can do and I can’t think of a better place to do it than at EVIT.’’

EVIT is a regional vocational education district including most of the East Valley and Scottsdale, preparing juniors and seniors students from area high schools for a wide range of jobs after graduation..

Wilson, who declined a request for an interview, was allowed to participate in leadership meetings even though EVIT administrator Dana Kuhn served as acting superintendent until his case resolved

Ronda Doolen, EVIT governing board president, praised Wilson in a statement and said she was glad to reinstate him to the superintendent’s position.

“Under Dr. Wilson’s leadership, EVIT has embraced a new spirit of staff collaboration and community service has empowered EVIT employees and strengthened our partnerships with our sending school districts and other community organizations,’’ Doolen’s statement said.

Wilson’s alleged transgressions occurred in Apache Junction before he was hired by former EVIT Superintendent Sally Downey as an assistant superintendent. Wilson ended up replacing Downey as interim superintendent until he was appointed to the top job only a month or so before his indictment.

The state Attorney General’s Office used an audit, by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office, to obtain charges of misuse of public monies, alleging Wilson arranged for $133,223 in payments not authorized by the Apache Junction Governing Board to administrators during a five-year period, from 2012 to 2016. 

The $126,000 in “performance payments’’ went to 11 to 15 administrators, while another $3,880 was spent on “professional development instruction,’’ and $2,550 was spent on paying three administrators to attend athletic events on Friday nights.

Wilson himself received $480 in unauthorized payments, according to the Auditor General’s report.

The Attorney General’s Office decided to withdraw the charges after Wilson’s attorneys filed a motion to remand to the grand jury, pointing out potential holes in the investigation and arguing the grand jury was not presented with a full understanding of Apache Junction school district policies.