Education

School principal, 46, dies after a fall. A fellow principal in the district has also died

Isaac Nuñez, principal of Olive Street Elementary School in Porterville, died Sept. 10, 2018. He was 46.
Isaac Nuñez, principal of Olive Street Elementary School in Porterville, died Sept. 10, 2018. He was 46. Porterville Unified School District

A beloved elementary school principal in the South Valley has died following a fall at his home.

Isaac Nuñez, 46, died Monday, Porterville Unified School District reported on its Facebook page.

Nunez was the principal of Olive Street Elementary School.

The Facebook posting generated an outpouring of response: 1,900 likes, 636 comments and 538 shares as of mid-day Tuesday.

Porterville Unified spokesman Jason Pommier said colleagues are grieving the deaths of not just Nunez, but a second well-known principal who died recently.

Principal Joe Santos Jr. died Sept. 1. of cancer. He was 58.

Santos served as the first principal of Sequoia Middle School, which became a NASA explorer school. He previously served as principal of Monte Vista and Westfield elementary schools. Most recently, he was principal on special assignment.

A service is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Holy Cross Church in Porterville. A celebration of life will be at 4 p.m. at the Porterville fairgrounds.

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Principal Joe Santos talks to students at Porterville Unified in 2016. Santos died Sept. 1, 2018. Porterville Unified School District

Nuñez fell from a scaffolding at his home Sunday, the district said. He suffered a severe head injury and was airlifted to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia. He died Monday afternoon with his family at his side, the district said.

“Isaac touched thousands of students’ lives over the twenty-one years he spent as an educator with PUSD and his absence will be felt by all,” the district said on Facebook. “Though tragically cut short, we are forever grateful for the time we had with him and for the passion, commitment, and leadership he exemplified every day in his work with our staff and children. On behalf of the entire PUSD community, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to Isaac’s wife, Casey, and the rest of the Nuñez family.”

Teacher Danny Velazquez wrote this tribute in response to the district’s Facebook posting: “Mr. Nuñez was the person who hired me as a new teacher and through his instruction shaped me and molded me into the teacher that I am today. I will be forever in debt for the impact his presence had in my life.”

Information about services is pending.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold
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