BHS principal leaving after 1 year

Departure approved but not mentioned at school board meeting.


BROOKINGS — Brookings High School Principal Heather Miller-Cink will leave the position after just one year on the job.

Though her departure was not mentioned at Monday’s meeting of the Brookings School Board, her leaving was later listed in the personnel report posted online and approved 5-0 during the consent agenda portion of the meeting.

It was coded as a resignation.

Miller-Cink was one of new Superintendent Summer Schultz’s first two hires, announced to the board last June 11, before Schultz had officially even taken over the superintendent job.

Miller-Cink took over for Paul von Fischer, who left Brookings to take the superintendent job in Estelline.

At the time, Schultz said “She leads with excellence. She is going to be a great addition.”

Miller-Cink came to Brookings from Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

In a September profile in The Register, Miller-Cink explained that she and her husband, both South Dakota natives, wanted to return to the state.

“I moved here in July,” Miller-Cink told the Register in September. 

She went on to say, “This is going to be a forever thing so we don’t have to hurry.”

Miller-Cink did not respond to a Register email to her district address on Wednesday asking for comment on her leaving.

The departure continues a trend of turnover in the top positions in the district, which is in the midst of building two new elementary schools.

Schultz took over the superintendent job from Klint Willert, who was forced to resign after he lost the confidence of the board. 

In the midst of Willert’s departure, the district was placed on probation by the state and was temporarily at risk of losing its accreditation. 

That probation was ultimately lifted quickly after the district filed the necessary paperwork.

In a profile of Schultz in The Register last May, she emphasized improving communication with parents and the larger community among her top priorities.

After mentioning the challenges Schultz would face taking over the district and her background as superintendent in Dell Rapids, the story read, in part:

“Superintendents need to communicate fully with their communities, Schultz said, keeping them aware of what’s going on in their schools.

“‘We need to be a little more intentional about that,’ Schultz said, ‘because we can use our community resources better if we’re better about communicating the needs we have and what we’re trying to do for our students.’”

Schultz did send parents an email this week regarding robocalls that district offices apparently received, but that email also raised follow-up questions.

Numerous parents in the district the Register spoke to raised concerns that they heard about Miller-Cink’s leaving from their students and not from the superintendent or the school board.

Linehan is the Register’s managing editor and welcomes tips and comments at