The principal at Burnside Elementary paid tribute to a teacher who passed away this week unexpectedly at the age of 40.
Stephanie Dawn Foster was laid to rest Friday in the Southern Oaks Cemetery after having died Tuesday due to COVID-19 – the first teacher in Pulaski County to do so.
She was a first grade teacher at Burnside Elementary. She had worked at Burnside for 15 years and taught for two years at Shopville Elementary before that, according to Burnside Principal April Mounce.
“Ms. Foster was always smiling,” Mounce said. “She was a teacher who loved her students and thought of them as her own. Every year she would work to get to know her students and their families. She spent many hours planning lessons that would meet the needs of each and every student in her class. She supported students throughout the school year, and her former students always wanted to visit her.”
Mounce added that it wasn’t just students who learned from her.
“She was a leader within our school. She served as a grade level representative for many years, was an instructional technology trainer for our new teachers, served as a mentor for new teachers and student teachers, led our Minds in Motion program, and provided professional development to other teachers on various topics and programs.
“She was a wonderful mother, daughter, friend, teacher, and employee. She will be forever loved and greatly missed by all who knew her and loved her.”
Mounce said that the school shared a video tribute of Foster with the staff and students, as well as provided time for students to make art projects or cards, which will be given to the teacher’s family.
Mounce said the school also planned to include a tribute page on the school’s webpage and in its yearbook.
She added, “Ms. Foster's class is doing well under the circumstances. We have had counselors at our school every day this week since her passing. We have provided whole group support as well as small group and individual support. Our support team has met with students at all grade levels as needed as well as with staff needing additional support.”
She said the school would continue to provide support to her children and family in the months ahead.