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UW Alumnus Reutzel Hired to Lead College of Education

April 21, 2015
head portrait of man
Ray Reutzel

A University of Wyoming alumnus whose career has spanned work as an elementary school teacher to a university provost has been named dean of UW’s College of Education.

D. Ray Reutzel, currently a distinguished professor of elementary and early childhood education and director of the Emma Eccles Jones Early Childhood Education Center at Utah State University, will begin his new post at UW July 6.

“We are delighted that Dr. Reutzel has agreed to return to UW and lead the College of Education at a critical point in its history,” Vice President for Academic Affairs David Jones says. “We are confident his experience, energy and vision, combined with the talents of our faculty and leaders across Wyoming’s education system, will propel the college to new heights of excellence in preparing educators who will make a difference in our state and nation.”

Reutzel, who grew up in the Big Horn Basin, received his bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from UW in 1977; a master’s degree in reading and elementary education from Utah State in 1980; and his Ph.D. in reading, language arts and elementary education from UW in 1982.

Reutzel began his career as an elementary school teacher for Uinta County School District 4 in Mountain View before attending graduate school. After earning his graduate degrees, he served on the faculties of Tarleton State University in Texas, Weber State University and Brigham Young University.

From 1998-2001, he was the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Utah University. At Utah State, he has been the Emma Eccles Jones Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Early Literacy -- in addition to directing the Eccles Jones Early Childhood Education Center -- since 2001.

“I have enjoyed a wonderfully fulfilling career in education and am now at a point in my career where my greatest desire is to ‘pay it forward’ to the next generation of teachers and scholars,” Reutzel says. “Doing so at my alma mater, UW, will be particularly gratifying, because it’s the institution where I was given such a wonderful start and for which I am deeply grateful.”

Reutzel describes his leadership approach as collaborative, noting that he has worked with university colleagues and administrators, public school educators, legislators, donors and others to pursue major educational initiatives. That is the approach he intends to pursue at UW.

“It is my intent to work collaboratively with college faculty and staff, and other stakeholders statewide, to elevate the College of Education at UW to nationally pre-eminent status in educator preparation,” Reutzel says. “I believe, as did John Dewey, that there is no higher education or lower education, but only education. We need to envision Wyoming’s education system as a pre-K-16 system where preparation of expert teachers, administrators and counselors is seen as integral to the future well-being of the public school system and the students the system is intended to serve.”

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