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In rare move, investigation reopened into Garfield High School counselor

Garfield High School (Seattle Public Schools)

For only the second time in eight years, the Office of Professional Practices is reopening an investigation.

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Raymond Willis is a guidance counselor at Garfield High School. Last May, The Seattle Times reported on the litany of allegations levied against Willis ranging from selling stocks without a broker’s license to misleading dozens of people into investing in his anti-wrinkle product.

The Office of Professional Practices, an office within the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, opened an investigation into Willis, but then dropped it after determining the allegations weren’t relevant to his job as a guidance counselor.

The Seattle Times also quoted parents of Garfield High School students in a follow-up piece that seemed to indicate students were roped into Willis’s alleged schemes.

Office of Professional Practices director Catherine Slagle told KTTH’s Jason Rantz this was news to her office.

“When we read that article we, then, reopened Mr. Willis’ investigation based on new information that had come to our attention,” Slagle said.

This doesn’t happen often.

“I’ve been in this office almost eight years and this is only the second time we’ve reopened a case once we’ve dismissed,” Slagle said.

It appears the parents quoted in The Seattle Times only contacted the reporter, and never spoke to investigators.

“The individuals that were quoted in the paper contacted the reporter after her first report in May,” Slagle said, “but neither the reporter nor those individuals ever contacted our office.”

Slagle stands by her previous comments that Willis doesn’t seem like a good role model for students.

“If I’m asked to recuse myself from the case I have no problem with that,” Slagle said.

Most investigations conducted by the Office of Professional Practices take about 13 months, although the original Willis investigation took less than the average.

“Now that there’s new information we have to investigate that and I can’t say how long that’s going to take,” Slagle said.

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