Ken Maddox, a teacher and coach for 40 years in Great Falls Public Schools, died on Saturday night at his home.
"The staff and community of East Middle School and Great Falls Public Schools share our sincerest condolences," said GFPS Superintendent Tom Moore in a news release on Sunday, "and ask that you remember Kenny's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve this loss."
The cause of his death has not been released at this point; Moore said more information will be released in the next few days about the wishes and needs of Maddox's family.
The news comes a little more than a week after an eighth grade student at East was shot and killed by another middle school student, and as the district forges through another two-week remote learning period, amid a rising number of students and staff in quarantine from exposure to the coronavirus.
Maddox worked at East Middle School as a science and English teacher. He was also well known as a coach on the Great Falls High School boy's basketball team. He spent nearly two decades at the elementary level in Great Falls Public Schools before moving to East, where he spearheaded an academic intervention program.
"Such a huge loss to the entire community," wrote Dana Falcon, a former East staff member, on Facebook. Falcon, Stephanie Major and Leesa Halcro — all East staff members — started a memorial on the steps of Great Falls High School after hearing the news on Sunday night.
"Ken was an amazing man and a pillar in education, sports, and his church," Halcro said. "He made everyone a better teacher for knowing him."
A crisis team has been assembled and will be available to parents, students and staff at East and around the district in the coming days, Moore said. Counselors will be available the week of November 23. You can call 406-268-6500 to arrange for a time to visit with a counselor or arrange for a personal and confidential phone call.
We will update you when we learn more.