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School worker in Howland to coach in NFL

HOWLAND — In a 3-2 vote, the Board of Education on Monday approved a memorandum of understanding for a two-year unpaid leave of absence for high school crisis intervention specialist Curt Kuntz.

He left his position at Howland High School to coach for the Miami Dolphins.

Kuntz was also a football coach at Struthers for the past eight years. He resigned his position there last week.

The memorandum of understanding that Kuntz has with Howland schools will allow him to return to his current position at the high school within one year, and he is guaranteed a position in his area of certification if he returns within two years.

Veteran Board of Education member Sue Brucoli and new member Brian Burkey voted against the memorandum.

Faculty are allowed to request a sabbatical, or time off, for educational purposes. Howland Local Schools Superintendent Kevin Spicher said this instance was different because the leave is not for educational purposes.

He said the district was hesitant to “set a precedent” for teachers leaving to try new jobs or other school districts with a guarantee of their original position back.

“The odds of his return are slim,” Spicher said of Kuntz. “He, of course, is hoping he gets there and succeeds. His biggest concern is going from coaching high school kids he loves to coaching (paid athletes).”

The Miami Herald reported last week that Kuntz has been offered a job as the Miami Dolphins defensive backs coach.

Spicher said Kuntz’s NFL contract is for two years.

Howland High School is using a long-term substitute to fill Kuntz’s position. The district will post a full-time position after one year, according to Spicher.

Spicher said the intervention specialist position is not a hard position to fill.

Erin Pierce, district supervisor of curriculum and instruction, said the position comes open about once every year.

Kuntz is required to notify Spicher of his status after the first year for the memorandum to remain effective. He will not be paid or accrue vacation time during the interval, but retains his seniority.

avugrincic@tribtoday.com

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