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Swain County Schools hires former Tuscola football coach weeks after suspension

By Kristin Fox

After a closed session to discuss personnel issues at their regular monthly meeting held last night, the Swain County Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Christopher Brookshire, former Tuscola High School head football coach, in an interim position at Swain County High School. 

Just over two months ago, Brookshire was suspended from the Haywood County School System following allegations of sexual harassment, Swain County has hired the former football coach as interim attendance and New Century Scholar coordinator. Brookshire will also work as a substitute bus driver for the Swain County School system.

“Based on the recommendations that have come to me, I recommend the Swain County Board of Education employ Christopher Brookshire in an interim position as attendance and New Century Scholar coordinator effective January 30, 2023,” said Swain County Schools’ Superintendent Mark Sale.

Prior to the unanimous vote on the employment of Brookshire, there was no discussion on the matter by the board.

After receiving multiple reports of Brookshire making inappropriate and unprofessional comments toward female staff, Brookshire was suspended with pay on December 7, 2022 from the Haywood County School System. On December 16, 2022, Brookshire was suspended without pay. After reviewing the complaints against him, the Smoky Mountain News reported that Brookshire elected to forego a hearing before the board of education concerning the allegations and instead, on January 2, 2023, Haywood County Schools’ Superintendent Trevor Putnam accepted Brookshire’s resignation.

While employed with the Haywood County School System, Brookshire worked as a physical education teacher, and served as Head Football Coach at Tuscola High. He also worked as a  weights coach as well as an assistant coach for the junior varsity boys basketball team. Leading up to his suspension, Brookshire was noticably absent from practices and games.

Brookshire was worked at most schools across Western North Carolina, spending five years as head coach at Erwin High School in Asheville from 2003-2007, a stint in 2008 at Battle High School in Virginia and in 2016 was hired as the new football coach at Smoky Mountain High School. Before being hired to coach the Mustangs in 2016, Brookshire taught at Erwin Middle School where he was an assistant coach one year before coaching Erwin Middle for three years. He also worked on the Western Carolina football star as quality control for offense. Brookshire has also worked coaching at North Buncombe High as an assistant.

Brookshire issued the following statement in his resignation:

“There have been allegations made against me to Haywood County Schools’ Human Resources Department that I have made comments toward female co-workers that are inappropriate or unprofessional. I apologize to anyone who I may have spoken with in a way that they deemed offensive or hurtful. It was not my intent to harm or offend anyone. I have determined that it is time for me to resign, as I in no way would want to do anything to compromise the integrity of Tuscola High School, Tuscola football, or myself. I am grateful for my time at Tuscola and the support I’ve received from the school community. I want nothing but the best for my players and the success of the football program moving forward.”

At the time of Brookshire’s suspension, Tuscola High School Principal Heather Blackmon was also suspended with pay from the school system on December 16, 2022 and resigned from the Haywood County School system on February 6, 2023. 

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