BILLINGS — Troy Walters has resigned as Grenora Public School District No. 99 superintendent and as Westby-Grenora football coach, as the Williston Herald first reported last week.
Walters has accepted a job as superintendent and principal at Twin Buttes (North Dakota) Elementary School, he told 406mtsports.com Monday. He said he signed the contract with Twin Buttes weeks ago, and he resigned from Grenora because of the new job, not because he was under investigation for multiple claims of wrongdoing. He has denied those allegations.
As part of a separation agreement with the Grenora school board, the district will not file any complaints against Walters, won’t seek further restitution beyond the $2,830 he’s already repaid and won’t pursue criminal charges, per the Herald. Board members voted unanimously to accept the agreement, in which Walters admitted no wrongdoing.
Walters will remain in Grenora until May 18, when he will go on paid leave, and he will officially resign when his contract ends June 30.
“We did a lot of good things, both my wife and I, in Grenora,” he said Monday. “In my 10 years here, I wouldn’t take anything back.”
Over a month ago, a Bismarck law firm investigated the allegations against Walters and prepared a report that the district school board reviewed, according to the Herald. The board chose not to suspend Walters but did vote 5-2 on April 3 to consider terminating his contract.
The allegations against Walters, per the Herald:
• Addressing school staff in an inappropriate manner at staff meetings, possibly trying to scare or threaten staff into not participating in the investigation;
• Manipulating enrollment count so the school would remain eligible for 6-Man football;
• Spending more school and/or co-op funds on football than is appropriate;
• Having football players participate in practice and/or games when they shouldn’t have because of injuries or academic eligibility issues;
• Allowing student-athletes to get away with drug and alcohol violations or pressuring others to do so;
• Drinking alcohol while chaperoning students in hotels at away games;
• Using school vehicles for personal benefit;
• Using school money for personal benefit.
Meredith Vukelic, an attorney hired by the district, concluded that Walters had used school vehicles and money for personal reasons, and that he intimidated school employees so that they wouldn’t participate in the investigation, the Herald reported.
Vukelic also wrote in her report that the issue of misuse of district money should be referred to law enforcement, per the Herald. But the district opted not to pursue criminal charges and requested any investigation be ended, per the terms of the agreement.
Walters and the district recognize that only law enforcement agencies and prosecutors can determine whether to continue or terminate a criminal investigation, the agreement states, and the district will provide factual information to law enforcement if requested.
Walters accused Vukelic of bias and is confident he would have been found innocent had the process played out, but he chose instead to resign.
“I knew I was going to Twin Buttes, so why go through that process?” he said Monday.
Walters spent three years as principal at Grenora and the last seven as superintendent. He has also coached the Westby-Grenora football team for the previous seven seasons, and the Thunder won their first 6-Man state title in 2017. They also lost the 2014 and 2016 championship games.
Walters said he is going to take a year off from coaching and look at his opportunities after that.
His two children live in Bismarck, which is about two hours away from Twin Buttes, and he has a lake house nearby — factors that contributed to his decision to take the job.
“My wife and I are really excited for this new opportunity,” he said.