One More Ding for Garfield; When Will the District Step Up?

Another sad story about Garfield and this time it's a counselor who had a second job that went wrong.

A guidance counselor in Seattle Public Schools has twice been fined by state regulators for selling stocks without a broker’s license. But violating the Securities Act of Washington — and misleading investors — does not disqualify Raymond Willis from continuing to advise students at Garfield High School, where he has worked since 2007.

As of last fall, the state Department of Financial Institutions had fined Willis and his nutritional-supplement company, the MiniHYA Corp., $37,000 in penalties and associated legal costs for fraudulently selling securities.
Regulators say Willis did not show up for a hearing and not paid the fines.  His lawyer says they were "very small amounts" about $1,000. 
 I'm not sure all would agree that $1,000 is a small amount.
Violating state finance laws does not necessarily bar Willis from holding onto a job providing guidance in schools, according to Nate Olson, a spokesman for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“There are specific offenses that would trigger suspension and generate an investigation,” Olson said. “Fraud is not on that list.”

Short of violence or sexual crimes against a child — which can automatically trigger action by the state — it is up to school districts to file complaints. And so far, Seattle has taken no such action against Willis.
 The district says they are "looking into it."

 All I can say is that the district is so afraid of being sued that they seem to turn away from problem after problem.  Willis was already let go when he worked at Chief Sealth over a basketball recruiting scandal. 

This is an issue of trust - trusting a counselor who has real and substantive issues of trust in a fidiciary action to work with children.
“Mr. Willis’s work as a guidance counselor is community effort,” said Galletch, the lawyer. “He doesn’t do it as a regular source of income. He does it to help young people."


Anonymous said…
The irony is that SPS won all of the lawsuits Ray Willis filed over being fired as a basketball coach all of those years ago.

McKoosa said…
Melissa - Thanks for reporting on this --- I attended GHS - I worked for SPS for almost 10 years - I managed to escape both - I am of "mixed ethnicity",for what that is worth - "The beat goes on -la da da da dee - la da da da dy!" - Some things never change - :) - Sad,but in this case,and re the District overall, true :)
NESeattleMom said…
$1000 is a lot for someone earning minimum wage who needs to pay rent.
Anonymous said…
You know - if you read the statement of charges, they really paint a clear picture of a grifter and liar. Garfield really knows how to pick 'em.

Anonymous said…
“Mr. Willis’s work as a guidance counselor is community effort,” said Galletch, the lawyer. “He doesn’t do it as a regular source of income. He does it to help young people."

What is that supposed to mean? Is he volunteering or something? It looks like he's paid staff, so receiving a regular source of income. Is his lawyer suggesting that he doesn't make enough money through this job, so shouldn't be held to high standards? I must be

missing something
NESeattleMom said…
Missing Something, Yes, his job pays $70k, according to the article.That is a liveable wage, and higher than many Seattle workers. His lawyer makes it sound like chicken feed. However, it is a paycheck, and much more than many people I know who work full time for local nonprofits.
Anonymous said…
Uh most Seattle Teachers don't make 70K but okay. My understanding is that he is the counselor for solely African American kids but prior to that was a Counselor seeing all kids.

I recall kids of numerous colors complaining about him but in GHS that means nothing. I had a friend who worked there and thought it was the most insane school she had worked at and she worked at Marshall and Interagency and was shoved out when Kaaren took over and turned that program into her version of a lab of failures.

But hey what matters is that your kids, my kids succeed and that a general view of what is working or not across the spectrum is irrelevant. This is about one and only one person and Seattle is good at the MEME better than anywhere I have ever lived. All under the guise of being good caring people.

I worked in many of the same schools and saw little to few successful programs and people and then those were systemically destroyed by political posturing and infighting that dominates a school culture.

So you may love GHS but when you dig deeper you see all that lays beneath the dirt and that takes effort, time and money. Then you will be accused of being a racist and that will lead to retreat as once that card is tossed it ends the discussion. If there is one thing Seattle people hate is being labeled that but child molester gets you elected Mayor. Go figure.

- SPS Old Timer
Jet City mom said…
It was my impression that Ray Willis was assgned to Garfield after he was forced out of his coaching position because of his behavior, not necessarily that Garfield had much choice in the matter.
I was shocked that he wasnt fired, because he hardly seemed a fit role model. Would he belong to the teachers union?
Surprised he is still there, disappointed but not surprised he is continuing to show he does not have good judgement.

( according to public records, Ray Willis recieves upwards if $76,000 in total compensation)

It boggles the mind that the district seems to think someone who does not have a strong ethical center is appropriate to counsel some of the most challenged students in the school.

I wonder what else he is doing?
Anonymous said…
Willis is only responsible for counseling minorities and disabled students, and none of them will be going to college, right? So who cares if he has a fraudulent gig on the side? Those students won't understand that, right? HCC students aren't involved so this will fly under the radar. And shirking his 70k job is just business as usual.

Old timer, you musta retired long ago. SPS teachers with a masters top out at around 85k. Throw some coaching in, and a few discretionary duties... you could get 6 figures.

Seen it

NESeattleMom said…
Seen it, They tried having Mr. Willis counsel primarily African Americans in order to have some sort of African American academy (as a motivational tool to have someone from their community encourage them). I think administration got a lot of push back so they dropped it within a year, several years back. If you go to GHS website, he counsels grades 10 - 12, 1/4 of the students alphabetically by last name. There is no separation at GHS in counseling by program. 9th graders all have Ms. Alston. The rest are split alphabetically between four other counselors.
This does raise a point that needs to be said out loud.

I am a union supporter and I believe in them.

But NOTHING will undercut their work more than protecting workers who are not effective. The proper protocols have to be gone thru but if a person is found ineffective, offtered the opportunity to do better and does not, then they need to leave (and not to another school).

Just like cops, teachers should not protect those who are either ineffective or unethical (as in this case). It only hurts their profession especially to outside eyes.

I know that people can be exited because I saw Brian Vance do it at RHS. It's a process but it can be done.

You'd think the union would want not only to protect its existence but it's own good name.
Geez, don't type if you don't have your reading glasses on; my last comment is full of errors. Sorry.
Po3 said…
And radio silence on the investigation into the football recruiting story that broke several weeks ago at GHS.
Anonymous said…
This is what i found about teacher salaries

and this is from 2013 and there is quite a range from IA's to Teachers to Administrators.. you can do the math and give me the median there..

And when I taught there was no TRI I left in 99... I had a Masters and made 45K my debt load was twice that as I was in a Ph.d program for dual degrees when I realized that the SPP (simple payback) was that I would top out in 15 years and then that was it at about 95K then, which can be used to eliminate you by Principals looking to cut corners.

Hey what do I know.. I am an idiot.

So why did the Teacher's strike then? Was it about wages? Guess not as 3% is the average wage rise for Teachers but for directors, etc its 7%. They must be smarter.

- SPS Old Timer
Anonymous said…
My daughter is in 11th grade at Garfield and has Mr. Willis. She said he's an absolutely horrible counselor and when he was introduced at the assembly at the beginning of the year, there were boos.

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