Ray Schulte

The Cody School Board on Tuesday cut ties with superintendent Ray Schulte.

During contract review in the monthly board meeting, vice-chair Jenni Rosencranse made a motion to have his contract terminated effective immediately, without a requirement to prove cause or reason as per the terms of the contract. Trustee Cathy Roes seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously, with trustee John McCue voicing his approval via phone. 

“The board would like to say thank you to Mr. Schulte for your years of service,” chair Brandi Nelson said. “And we do wish you well.”

She said trustees will work to secure an interim superintendent immediately and hope to have that position filled soon.

“We will begin our search for a new superintendent as soon as possible,” Nelson added.

Schulte was hired in 2013. Trustee Stefanie Bell is the lone board member remaining who participated in bringing him into the district from Torrington. His current contract runs through the end of the 2020-2021 school year and has a salary of $165,000 under his current contract.

“We will comply with the terms of the contract,” Nelson said. The motion to terminate includes the district paying liquidated damages – including future salary – subject to the terms and conditions of the contract.

Schulte said he had intended to stay on through the end of the contract. 

“I have a contract through June of 2021 and I had full intentions of fulfilling that agreement,” Schulte wrote in a prepared statement. “However, the Cody School Board is terminating me without cause. We have different ideas about superintendent and trustee roles, and that happens.”

Schulte led the board during some tough times, such as budget cuts and dropping enrollment in his first few years, but more recently he has overseen rising enrollments and a more stable financial position for the district. 

In the last couple of years he has worked with trustees to set a policy allowing for trained, qualified staff to concealed carry firearms in the schools, and to approve the construction of a new transportation complex on Beacon Hill.

In 2018 he was named the state’s top superintendent.

“My goal throughout the 20 years as a Wyoming school superintendent has been to provide the best possible experience for students,” Schulte said. “I sincerely thank those trustees who hired me in 2013 and all who have placed their trust in my ability to lead the district. I have enjoyed interacting with the students and staff in Cody, Wapiti and Valley schools. Cody graduates are amazingly high achievers and I am confident once the board proceeds with Portrait of a Graduate, more good things will happen.

“There is a lot of talent and energy within the school system, and I wish them the very best.”

(27) comments

RichW

First of all, I think if our School District was the picture of perfection, the school board would not make a decision like this. There are many things that the general public could know but probably wouldn't such as programs, budgets, dynamics, etc. I think to the community who sees that this superintendent has been recognized for a good job, probably thinks that everything is going well or ok. You might even find a school district staff member that is apathetic about the whole situation. However, if you talked to any staff member that ever had a personal interaction with this superintendent, you would quickly find out why morale issues in the district are so low. Mr. Schulte was a boss, not a leader. He does not inspire those who follow him. He ran the district without any personal connection or compassion towards any staff member.  Yes, the board could have done some things differently. They voted on a shorter contract extension the last time it came up for renewal. They could have just let him go then but opted to give him a "second chance." However, If they hadn't given him that chance, then they would have been no better than him. I applaud the guts and downright bravery it took to make this decision that is best for students, staff, and the culture of the school district.

(Edited by staff.)

Joe Battin

*forum*

Joe Battin

Love the censorship... provide a form for freedom of speech then deny it! Well done.

Gunrunner Auctions

While recently serving on the Cody School Board for four years, I worked closely with Ray Schulte. I did not see any of the "fear" or "intimidation" some teachers are commenting about, but in my experience you could triple vacations and up the pay two-fold and some teachers would howl with scorn. Such is their nature - I know as I was not only a teacher, but in the schools for 25 years. You'd have to dig deep to find fault with such a great professional as Ray Schulte. Those teachers complaining about Ray Schulte were probably disciplined by him. It's an old story....

I traveled much of Wyoming and attended many educational meetings around the state and other superintendents and teachers sought me out to say what a great super Ray Schulte was. I agree.

Ray Schulte believes that if he and the board have enough faith in you to teach and protect our children, then you darn well better come to work every day. Ray was diligent in forcing this issue and EVERY school board member (yes, even those still on the board who just fired him) backed him on this. My board backed the firing and discipline of worthless (yes, that's the word I chose) teachers who hide behind non-existent medical issues or simply refused to work, sexual predators and those teachers who were a danger to our students.

When one of these are identified you WANT a super like Ray to force them out. The board backed all of these actions and out they went. If you think that is "unfair" or whatever, then you don't realize what it is to run a district with 400 workers. Quality of teachers vary widely. Very widely and quite simply there are some who do NOT belong with our children. Ray was good at pressuring these types. The board agreed.

I see in one of the letters that a person is saying that teachers were "not allowed" to speak with the board. Completely and absolutely untrue. In my four years on the board I spoke quite candidly with scores of Cody teachers and administrators. These teachers were at my house, my store and we talked on the street and at supermarkets and on the phone about school issues. Not once did any say they were "not allowed" to speak with me. Never.

The only problem our board had with Ray is that we thought he worked too much. Amazing huh? Ray would work until 10 pm at the school nearly every night and work all through the weekends. Many times he would call me late on Saturday night or early Sunday morning about school emergencies or issues.

In fact, at one point we INSISTED that Ray take a vacation!

If you look at what Ray Schulte urged our board to do in just these few issues, you will realize how much he did for the Cody staff and students: He urged us to take the big step of instituting an Alternate School which halted drop-outs, at his urging we gave the teachers a HUGE pay raise/more benefits/retirement pickups (which raised morale through the roof), better job descriptions, hired excellent supervisors, instituted the ultimate in a school safety program to protect our students/staff/teachers and over-saw the selling of properties and construction for a future new bus garage. In addition he represented us well in Cheyenne at the state legislature and the school's financials were excellent during my four years. Cody Schools ranked high in all areas. I talked to scores of Cody grads after their first year of college and they said they were well prepared by Cody schools - that's what matters the most.

I will say it again: This board must be held accountable for dismissing such a fine educational professional. This board is going to cost our community hundreds of thousands of dollars for this poor decision, hurt the educational process and hurt our reputation.

In November there will be four seats available. For the good of the schools we need NEW board members who recognize excellence and do not waste money.

Alas, there will not be another chance to score a top-level administrator like Ray Schulte for this district....

Joe Battin

You were a student teacher while in Cody and a yearbook and text book salesman...i know.." You did your own research!" Best the to jappen to the board was when you resigned

Blough's nemisis

Here is a comment to you armchair quarterbacks, run for School Board, or at least attend a meeting.

Yancy

It's not uncommon to fire a CEO (in this case, a superintendent) for poor performance in the business (the school district). While Park 6 ranks 10th of the 41 school districts in the state overall (K-12) based on performance, Cody High school is ranked 65th of 77 Wyoming public high school. There has been an extremely steep decline since 2014, and it's the lowest ranking since at least 2004.

A CEO in the private sector would have been fired, too...

Potter

Where are the parents? To have that low a rating—and not have parents and citizens in those schools to tutor and act as aides—is a crime. 65th of 77 is an embarrassment for the tax paying citizens. My Lord, that score is a fire—not just an alarm! Stop the blame and get the job done.

Wyo4kids

So the moderators of these comments deleted all of those with bad experiences with this Super? Guess we know whose pocket the Enterprise is in

Crazy Horse

I suspect those comments might have been libelous.

Daves Warm Nuts

So many deleted comments.

Gunrunner Auctions

My, my, something is wrong with this picture….

2018 Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte is named Superintendent of the Year for the entire state of Wyoming. The Cody School Board praises this award.

2019 Cody School Superintendent Ray Schulte named one of the top Superintendents of the Year in the USA. Reception in DC. School Board praises this award. Shortly thereafter, Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte is awarded a three-year contract through 2021. The vote is 6-1.

All educational indicators show increased enrollment, decreased high school dropout rate, solid financials and increased test scores as well as high student achievement and high college performance under Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte.

Park 6 School District has one of the state’s TOP supers and one of the nation’s TOP supers with Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte. No other school district in the state of Wyoming and darn few in any USA school districts can boast the same. All is well.

Early in 2020 Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte is terminated without cause. This will cost the Cody School board $375,000++ for this “decision” at this time. Unbelievable. Unconscionable. Poor judgement and poor timing.

It was my pleasure to serve four years with Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte and with my 25 years of experience in secondary schools and as a board member, I can tell you he was the “real thing”. I back the evaluation of the state and nation’s best education experts: He is Number One in his field.

Folks, this November four (4) Cody School Board seats will come up for election. All of these members who fail to recognize excellence – as set by the state and nation’s top education experts – must be replaced.

Our children’s future depends on it.

Right now the Cody School Board is the laughing stock of the state and national educational communities. How very sad… How very far the board has sunk in 13 months…

RichW

Wrong. The Cody School Board was a NATIONAL laughing stock and an embarrassment when you were on it, Gunrunner. The school board now has the strength and direction to improve the district rather than chase personal agendas as you did.

Daves Warm Nuts

Don't pick on gumrunner, as we know from his last long winded ignorant post, he "does his homework".

hobbycow10

I worked in this school district for 25 years. This was the best decision the board has made in all the years I’ve been a part of this district. The moral of the staff has been the lowest I’ve seen in years because of the man. We lost 31 staff members the year I left for various reasons. You would think that would raise red flags in the community. The staff was not value in anyway for all their hard work to make our school district what it is. It was a good change for our district. I fully support the School Board in their decision.

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Wyo4kids

Ha! He fooled YOU! What you see is NOT what you get with this guy

Winner

I am glad to see him gone, and I will vote for every school board member who had the guts to terminate his contract. My experience was that he ignores consequences for the bullies and punishes the victims for reporting bullying. 

(Edited by staff.)

ResidentofCody

Totally stand behind the school board on this decision. Too bad the Enterprise staff won't let the public see why this "non-renewal" happened, but instead delete all posts they don't like. Sure looks like "fake news" to me!

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Fox Blue River

I worked there for two weeks in the maintenance department. They have plenty more bullies left.

CodyTeacher

I am a teacher in the Cody Schools and have been for many years. I've seen superintendents come and go, in fact I’ve seen many administrators come and go. This move makes my heart happy and it’s good for Cody Schools!

As faculty and staff, we’ve had to hide and cower every time Ray Schulte walked into a room. But even more so, we had to cower before he came in the room just in case someone heard us. We couldn't talk about the moral at school and in our district, that was out of bounds he said. One of his first conversation with the district when he got here he told us not to air any grievances or frustrations outside of our schools. Ok so we can share those with each other? Administrators? Nope, folks that followed his instructions and kept concerns in house were getting fired, replaced, and were gone. Administrators included. We couldn’t talk with friends at school, at home, over email, at parent teacher conferences, on social media, we could ask for things to be better or folks got fired. We couldn't talk to the board at all! Yes he got superintendent of the year, but you do know that he was elected by other superintendents...not our faculty and staff. When we found out about that we all rolled our eyes and thought to ourselves wow really? The school board did drop the ball to a point, because there is no way for faculty and staff to give feedback to them about our administrators. We all have evaluations on everything we do from when we clock in to what we say at home around our kitchen table, they don’t. That must change! Ask the staff if we should renew administrators, superintendents and school principals. Board policy says we cannot contact the board without going through the superintendent. How do we tell the superintendent that we need him to tell the board he is a bad fit for Cody? He wouldn't pass that on! We couldn't tell them how bad he was without losing our jobs, read the board policy written about how staff is to communicate with the board. We’ve had a few try and they lost their jobs. Ray Schulte fired or “let go” so many folks from our district. Good, hard working educators, administrators, staff were let go because they had a plan that wasn’t his. If you had a vision and he didn’t share it, you had to zip it right then. He surrounded himself with yes men and women, folks that will only back him up and wouldn't dare challenge him. At first in the district office and now with principals in the schools. Are they all bad? Not at all, in fact some are rock stars! But there are a few that are just yes men just echoing what he demanded. This has been such a bad atmosphere for years and we have done our best to smile and keep it from the kids and public. Just a super aggressive and hostile work environment for years and now the school board knows, Cody knows. We’ve needed real transparency, hopefully we can get someone in the district office that wants to talk and will actually listen.

On some other comments I’ve read. Please don’t prop him up from the outside. You saw the newspaper articles about how great he was. Really? He didn’t teach the kids anything, our staff did. He didn’t change the drop-out rate. What did Ray Shulte do to raise student test scores? Good heavens...think about it! Custodians, bus drivers, paras, secretaries, staff, teachers, and STUDENTS...we are the ones making the changes and doing the work. He gets the headlines, but our kids with great support did all of this. It certainly wasn’t because of Mr Schulte or his vision. The school board now has a glimpse into what was happening. We need changes regarding the relationship between administrators, the school board, and our faculty/staff.

We are professionals, with advanced degrees and years of experience. We need to know that we can talk to someone and about our concerns and still have a place to work tomorrow even though we don’t always agree. I applaud our school board, for being bold and taking action. I hope that continues and they make some big changes. Changes that will allow for transparency and open communication from the top down.

I wish Ray Schulte well...

Realistic

100% spot on and since his wife works for the Enterprise she will probably delete my comment also. Never did the board want to listen to the absentee rate because of the stress or the turnover that was happening in the district. This district was run by the #1 bully of them all and staff cowered. It was his world and we just existed in it. I personally was told I could come to a meeting as long as I sit there and don't talk or participate.

The reason the district has successes is because of the people there who cared for the children and their jobs. I could go on and on but well said Cody Teacher, well said!

(Edited by staff.)

Patriot1776

There are too many unanswered questions to this situation. First and of utmost importance, Cody taxpayers will pay this man over 300,000 dollars and he will be doing absolutely nothing. That's not school board money. That is taxpayer money that could be used for maintenance upkeep, it could be used to pay classified staff a decent wage or used to put them on 12 month contracts so they aren't forced to find jobs during the summer. A school is only as good as it's entire staff and many of our staff get treated like second class citizens. Please explain how we go from a highly decorated awarded superintendent to a first vote unanimous termination with no reason given. Did it have to do with the competing egos dragging the board in different directions? Perhaps it was an audit, employee morale at all time lows, ignoring harassment from certain staff members by supervision, or failure to hire qualified supervision for jobs. Often cheapest and least experienced are not the best options. Perhaps it was ignoring claims of bullying and intimidation and failing to correct them that got us to this place.

The public deserves and demands answers. After all its our money and you work for us. Four trustee positions will be open in 2020. Sounds like it's time to bring this runaway plane back in for a landing.

todayistheday

Well said, you are absolutely correct ! I want to know why if someone is terminated instantly, why we are not informed as to why ? This garbage of paying out six digit sums of monies when someone has done something that causes immediate termination is ridiculous, and wrong, since when did wrong doing get you rewarded ?

Realistic

You want answers talk to employees and former employees. Notice all the deleted comments on this site when someone tries to tell the truth of the matter.

Potter

I find it odd that someone who achieved so much for the community is being fired without cause. What does that tell the students? Had to be a better way to work things out. Just had to be.

prop erty bro thers

going from Wyoming Supt. of the year to getting fired by amateurs each with their own little agenda, we the public need a full explanation

Realistic

Just keep deleting the truth and publishing the fake news.

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