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He returned to education because he missed impacting students

First dean of students is a long-time educator 

Thornapple Kellogg — Though he is new to the Thornapple Kellogg district, Sean McLaughlin is no stranger to serving teachers and students.

Before taking on his new role as dean of students at Thornapple Kellogg High School, McLaughlin taught elementary grade levels for 10 years, followed by 26 years as an elementary principal. He retired in 2020 after his seventh year at Kettle Lake Elementary in Caledonia.

‘I don’t think there can ever be enough caring adults in the lives of kids. I just want to be another person they can look to for help and guidance.’   

— Sean McLaughlin

McLaughlin said he was drawn back to public education because he missed the impact of working with students, staff and parents.

“I wanted to get back into being part of the day-to-day operations of the school again,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to this, and glad to be here at TK.”

Dean of students is a new position at the high school, and McLaughlin said he’s excited to make the transition from working with elementary to high school students.

McLaughlin will support administrators, in addition to connecting with his students and overseeing TK Virtual School.   

“I don’t think there can ever be enough caring adults in the lives of kids,” he said. “I just want to be another person they can look to for help and guidance, and I hope I can build the same kind of relationships at the level I was able to with the elementary students.”

Superintendent Craig McCarthy explained how adding the dean of students role will help support high school instruction as well as the administrators.

“In a high school with nearly 1,000 students, our principal and assistant principal can be stretched very thin,” McCarthy said. “Adding this position helps free up their time, allowing them more opportunities to support instruction.” 

Outside of school, McLaughlin and his wife, Nancy, enjoy living in the Middleville community, traveling, spending time with family and riding their Harley Davidson motorcycles together. They are also parents to three adult children. He is also a licensed real estate agent for Stonebridge Realty. 

Read more from Thornapple Kellogg: 
Experienced volunteer is a teacher’s dream
After 57-year hiatus, agricultural science program revived

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”

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