Skip to main content

After dramatic week at Washburn, principal asked to step down

  • Author:
  • Updated:

First a walkout, then a sit-in and now Washburn High School's principal Carol Markham-Cousins is removed from her post.

School board members were notified of the Superintendent's decision to reassign Markham-Cousins Wednesday night, the Star Tribune reports.

The week was filled with turmoil as students protested an investigation into Athletic Director Dan Pratt. Hundreds of students staged a walkout Monday.

Sources told the Star Tribune that the district's probe involves whether Pratt had necessary approval for a new scoreboard that was to be part of the renovation of an athletic field.

A leader of the walkout tells the Star Tribune that Markham-Cousins and other administrators used coercive tactics to force him to abort an in-school protest, which prompted a sit-in on Wednesday.

"Events over this current year have distracted from the learning environment at Washburn. We recognize that Ms. Markham-Cousins has been a passionate advocate for students and families, and she did a particularly great job of leading the turnaround of Washburn," district spokesperson Stan Alleyne told the newspaper. "But the administration also recognizes that a change in leadership is necessary now to restore the school’s effective learning.”

In a statement, Markham-Cousins, who was hired as principal in 2007, said she was offered three choices Thursday morning by the school district. KSTP reports the options included resigning, taking a leave of absence or accepting a new position within the district. She chose to stay in the district.

Former Southwest High School Principal Robert McCauley will run Washburn until an interim principal is named to finish the school year, Alleyne said.

Next Up


Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.