Couple who built Fruita ag program pulled from classes

A couple renowned for helping build the largest high school agriculture education program in the state has been removed from teaching at Fruita schools, though it’s not clear why.

Ryan and Jennie Hudson, who taught agriculture education and sponsored the Future Farmers of America program at Fruita Monument and the Fruita 8/9 schools, were removed from their positions, placed on administrative leave and reassigned to be substitute teachers, according to district officials.

The Hudsons were placed on administrative leave on July 31, according to District 51 spokeswoman Emily Shockley, pending an internal investigation. The district did not provide further information about the allegations, other than to say they related to two policies adopted by the School Board. The nature of the policies relates to professional conduct, with one pertaining to conflicts of interest and the other pertaining to staff code of conduct, including a wide range of possibilities from modeling professionalism and respect for others to using time and resources appropriately.

Fruita Police Sgt. John Coughran confirmed that someone from District 51 had consulted with the department but it was determined the situation would best be handled by the school as a personnel issue. A case was not opened, he said.

In the past, district officials have removed teachers from assignments when they are under investigation for violating district policy and placed them on paid administrative leave without allowing further interaction with schools or students. It’s not clear why this hasn’t happened in this case, with the Hudsons being reassigned as substitute teachers who can work at other schools.

Shockley said neither has accepted any substitute jobs this school year.

The Hudsons did not respond to attempts to contact them Monday.

This year, classes will be covered by other teachers and members of the agriculture community, who will also help with the largest FFA chapter in the state. Shockley said the district intends to fill the positions and will keep the program going.

The opening for Ryan Hudson’s job teaching agriculture at Fruita Monument was posted Sept. 1 on the district’s website as a temporary job. Jennie Hudson’s job was posted the previous day, a temporary position teaching agriculture at the Fruita 8/9 School that was a little more than half-time, teaching five hours a day.

The district called the program “vital” and said it wants to keep the program.

“We definitely don’t want to let it go astray,” Shockley said, noting the district hopes to find two well-qualified applicants to start the next school year.


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