Statement from the Norte Board of Directors on the departure of Executive Director Ty Schmidt

Statement from the Norte Board of Directors on the departure of Executive Director Ty Schmidt

Last week Norte’s Board of Directors made the challenging decision to remove Ty Schmidt as executive director. Ty’s contributions to the organization have been immense, from recognizing a critical need in our community and birthing the idea of bike trains to get kids from home to school and back again to positioning Norte as a leader in public health and community connection. We deeply value the vision, energy, and hard work Ty brought to Norte, as we’ve stated previously.

While we cannot discuss confidential personnel matters, we want the community to know this was not an easy or hasty choice. Rather, the Board engaged in a deliberative executive review process that included extended conversations with Ty, which began last year. We have spent this past week trying to work with Ty to find another suitable role with the organization. Our sincere hope is to have him continue with the organization in another capacity and with the same enthusiasm he brought to Norte since its inception. If he decides to part ways, we wish him well in his future endeavors.

Norte has grown to become much more than just kids pedaling to school in Traverse City. From Pro Walk/Pro Bike advocacy to a youth leadership council to active-for-life educational programs to community services like kids’ bike libraries and community bike shops, Norte is transforming the culture of health in Northern Michigan by developing happy, healthy, ready-to-learn kids and building stronger, better connected and more walk/bike communities by empowering the young and young at heart. Our talented and committed staff will carry our mission forward. We have appointed Jill Sill, our highly skilled Director of Operations, Interim Executive Director, to lead the organization through this transition. We have complete confidence in Jill and the rest of Norte’s staff, the community of coaches and volunteers, and loyal supporters to keep the Norte vision focused, strong, and impactful.

After we sent the statement to media, one outlet asked whether the Board had a response to those who have criticized the way Ty’s departure was communicated. Here is what we said:

The Board is very sensitive to the fact that this is a personnel issue. We have gone to great lengths to address the matter in confidence for the sake of all parties concerned. The series of events that brought it to the public’s attention were unfortunate, but not initiated by the board. We remain steadfast in supporting Norte’s mission and the dedication and hard work of staff, coaches, and volunteers.



Norte | Happy. Healthy. Strong.

Norte is the Grand Traverse region’s active transportation-centered, youth-focused, neighborhood-based advocacy organization. Norte’s mission is to help build stronger, better connected and more walk/bike-friendly communities by empowering the young and young at heart.

Norte is developing the next generation of happy, healthy, strong leaders through its Safe Routes To School initiative, Pro Walk/Pro Bike advocacy, youth empowerment projects, and youth mountain bike programs.