LESUEUR COUNTY NEWS
Eric Kauffmann, chosen to replace veteran Le Sueur-Henderson Activities Director and Dean of Students Dave Swanberg, tendered his resignation Nov. 28 for a position he had not yet started.
LS-H School Board members though opted Monday to table Kauffmann’s resignation citing insufficient information provided for the regular board meeting. School officials will meet later in December to weigh the surprise resignation and how to find a replacement for Swanberg, whose resignation is effective Dec. 31.
School district officials had announced on Oct. 26 the selection of Kauffmann to take over the activities director/dean of students position. The board then approve his hiring at its Nov. 5 meeting, then approved those minutes at the next LS-H School Board meeting Nov. 19.
Nine days later, Kauffmann penned a resignation letter even though he had not yet begun employment at LS-H.
Following Monday’s meeting, LS-H Superintendent Marlene Johnson when asked for further comments, stated: “He resigned. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Kauffman, when contacted Monday night following the LS-H board discussion and decision to table his resignation, was surprised but would not comment on his decision to resign. He said he is no longer employed at Kerkoven-Murdock-Sunburg but still resides in Murdock, according to his resignation letter.
At the time of the LS-H district’s Oct. 26 announcement of Kauffmann’s hire, it was reported he was currently serving as the KMS activities director, head football and assistant wrestling coach, and also as a grades 7-10 physical education and health instructor.
But he did not finish the fall football season as KMS head coach.
When selected in the Oct. 26 LS-H announcement, Principal Nathaniel Boyer said in a press release, “His references held high regard for Kauffmann’s leadership abilities. Various members of the KMS School District spoke highly of Kauffmann’s approach to problem-solving being centered on doing what’s right for the kids, parents, programs and for the schools.”
Kauffmann was one of 23 applicants for the position, and on Oct. 23, four interviews were held with approximately 10 representatives from LS-H Schools. The three other finalists were LS-H business education instructor and head boys basketball coach Don Marcussen, St. Francis High School health education instructor Alan Scholmann, and former Staples-Motley activities director Travis VanOverbeke.
Boyer called Kauffman “extremely passionate about his education and what the school district can offer. He will be a great addition to our staff and community.”
That likely won’t happen following Monday’s meeting.
Superintendent Johnson had placed Kauffmann’s resignation letter on the consent agenda, meaning if left there board members wouldn’t have time to discuss the matter. But Director Kelsey Schwartz asked for it to be removed from consent and onto the regular agenda for discussion.
Later, Schwartz said she was not comfortable voting on Kauffmann’s resignation because she had insufficient information provided by school administration regarding the issue.
“I’m not comfortable voting on this,” Schwartz said. “I don’t feel we as a board have been fully informed on what happened.”
Director Brian Wiederich agreed: “I, too, am uncomfortable.”
And Director Amy Hardel, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Andrea Faches, also said a formal vote should wait.
“I don’t feel we have enough information to vote on it,” Hardel said. But Director Erina Prom cautioned fellow board members that the district is on a strict timeline to replace Swanberg by Jan. 2. The vote to table the Kauffmann resignation passed on a 4-2 vote, with Prom and Director Terry Spence opposed.