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Roseville Schools elementary principal dies by suicide

The principal's family asked that the district share he took his own life.

The principal of a Roseville elementary school died by suicide, the district shared on Monday evening. 

In a message to families about Brian Koland, principal of Edgerton Elementary School in Maplewood, Roseville Area Schools Superintendent Jenny Loeck said: 

"It is with a heavy heart that I share with you tragic news about the unexpected death of a member of our school community, Principal Brian Koland. Our thoughts and hearts go out to Principal Koland’s family and to all who knew and loved him."

The district said Koland's family gave permission to share that he died by suicide and asked that the district continue to address the importance of mental health support. 

Koland had been on a leave of absence since the start of the school year. 

He had worked for Roseville Area Schools for nearly 30 years. In addition to working at Edgerton, he served as the principal of Emmet D. Williams Elementary, as a special education supervisor, an English language coordinator, and a teacher and coach in the district. 

The district's social media posts shine a light on the type of educator Koland was. In 2015, he made a deal with his students at Emmet D. Williams that if they read 500,000 minutes during the Read-A-Thon he would kiss a kangaroo and spend the night on the school's roof. 

The students met Koland's challenge, and Koland followed through on the deal. 

Then in 2019, Koland said he'd shave his beard and head if students met their Read-a-Thon goal. One student said they wouldn't read a lot to save his hair and "maybe your beard," a Facebook post said. He also took a turn in a dunk tank.

"Principal Koland was a warm and caring person. His presence and leadership will be deeply missed, and his memory will be celebrated by the entire Roseville Area Schools community," Loeck said. 

Suicide is a "difficult subject for people of all ages to talk about," Loeck said. 

Included in the message to families are tips for speaking with children about death and dying, including giving children "simple and truthful information," reassuring children their own family is safe, encouraging children to talk about their worries with a caring adult and helping children find an action step they can take to help those mourning a loss. 

Social workers and counselors will be available to meet with students and staff at schools in the coming days. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 provides around-the-clock free and confidential support for people in distress.

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