Carl Scholz was one of a kind. He was the youngest school superintendent in Wisconsin when he was promoted to head the Sevastopol District at age 26 and had held the position longer than anyone else in the state when he retired 34 years later.
When he accepted the position, there were 15 faculty members, high school classes met on the third floor of the original building, and the offerings were basic – no foreign language, limited science and only algebra and geometry in the math curriculum. Sports were the only extra-curricular activities until Scholz implemented an alternate schedule that included an activity period every Friday for organizations and clubs.
Scholz was an environmentalist long before it was a popular cause, serving on countless boards and never giving up fighting for the protection of our natural resources. He stood up for many environmental initiatives such as stopping mines from polluting rivers, opposing the PCBs in the Fox River, and developing Whitefish Dunes as a state park.
He was influential in many land acquisitions for preservation by the Door County Land Trust and was a long-time member of The Ridges Board, serving as its president for 15 years. Thousands of trees along the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal were planted under his supervision by the Sevastopol Conservation Club, and he took truckloads of trees to Wisconsin communities that suffered losses from tornadoes. He was honored many times by local, state and national environmental groups.
Although Scholz often said that the people of the community, the teachers, and the staff at Sevastopol were the best, his belief in quality education in all public schools was paramount. When a director was needed for Door County Special Education, he volunteered and did the job for two years in addition to his other responsibilities.
Long after his retirement in 1987, he continued to teach through presentations at school and his annual maple syrup-making adventures at The Farm with Sevastopol fourth- and fifth-grade students. A retired teacher recalled that Scholz always asked the youngsters many thought-provoking questions. If they could not find the correct responses, he would continue to give hints, until the right answers were discovered.
He continued to teach adults, as well, in classes at The Clearing on Door County’s natural resources and making walking sticks. He led many hikes throughout the county, often inviting the groups back to the Scholz home for what he called “the afterglow.”
Scholz had a strong Christian faith and a commitment to Bay View Lutheran Church, where he and Ruth were members for 70 years and he served on many committees and the church council.
In later years, the couple enjoyed traveling the world, including fulfilling a goal of visiting the city of Sevastopol in Ukraine, for which the school district was named.
While living at Anna’s Healthcare for the last year, he continued his 50 years as a participant in the Door County Bird Count and taught other residents about fish crows, the endangered species he spotted out his south window. The Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society recently presented him with a certificate of appreciation for his many years of service and for educating others about all the natural resources of Door County.
The Door County Master Gardeners named him Honored Master Gardener for more than 25 years of volunteer service. He was the first person in Door County to receive this honor.
His influence will be felt in the Sevastopol District and throughout Door County for generations to come.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, June 25 at 4 pm at The Farm.