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Coughlin terminated by Staples-Motley School Board

Kevin Coughlin’s employment as a Staples-Motley High School social studies teacher and tennis coach ended Monday.

The Staples-Motley School Board terminated Coughlin after calling a special meeting.

Coughlin could not be reached for a comment Tuesday afternoon. The automated message after trying Coughlin’s number in Staples stated the number was disconnected.

Ken Swecker, long-time school board member, said the board met in closed session and then announced the termination in open session during a quiet meeting Monday. Swecker said he was uncomfortable talking about the issue and said he would not go into details or reasons for the termination until everything was settled. Swecker said he could not confirm if Coughlin was present at the meeting.

Swecker said he wasn’t sure if Coughlin would contest the termination, and said he couldn’t go into more detail until everything was finalized. Swecker said he believed Coughlin was with the district since 1991.

Brad Anderson, school board treasurer, confirmed the special meeting but said any comment would need to come from Mark Schmitz, school superintendent. Schmitz did not return multiple phone messages Tuesday night.

Mary Freeman, school board chair, said the meeting and its results were a matter of public record but she did not want to confirm or deny any details. She, too, referred comments to Schmitz.

What elected school board officials in open session is a matter of public record, but the members reached Tuesday were not willing to talk about their decision or in some cases were unwilling to confirm they made a decision at the special meeting. Freeman, Swecker and Brad Anderson all referred comments to Schmitz. School board members Paul Anderson, Barb Schmitt and Chad Longbella did not return messages.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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