Hopewell Mourns Loss of Beloved Teacher
By CHAI GALLAHUN
Nov 30, 2017, 10:39
According to reports, Leah M. Reed, a teacher at DuPont Elementary School in Hopewell was killed in a fiery crash on Saturday afternoon (approximately 1 p.m.) while traveling in Caroline County.
Sgt. Keeli L. Hill of the Virginia State Police explained that state law enforcement responded to the single vehicle crash. The location of the deadly incident was in the vicinity of mile marker 111.3 on I-95 northbound.
State troopers stated that the SUV that Reed was driving veered from the left lane and struck a tree. The crash resulted in the vehicle being consumed in flames. Reed, a resident of North Chesterfield, was the sole occupant of the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a press release, Hopewell Superintendent of Schools, Melody Hackney, stated, “Our hearts are so heavy in Hopewell today. We are extremely saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Mrs. Leah Reed. Mrs. Reed was a beloved 3rd grade teacher at Dupont Elementary School.
We will be forever grateful for the short period of time she worked with us. Mrs. Reed was a new teacher to HCPS this year. We were so fortunate to find her. She believed in and was an example every day of her calling to this work. It was her mission and purpose in life to make a difference in the lives of her students, and we can certainly attest that she was successful in this endeavor at Dupont this year. Mrs. Reed was described by staff at Dupont as “a gentle spirit…a truly good person…who had a huge smile, that made everyone happy to be around her.” Mrs. Reed was proud to be a woman of faith, who loved to sing in school and at church. We are confident she is singing with the angels today. She loved her school and her Dupont family. She often joked about never leaving…we are honored she was so happy in her assignment and thankful for the joy it brought to her each and every day.”
Her students and their families were notified by telephone before returning to school after the holiday break. Additional counselors and school board office administrators are on hand at the school to support the faculty into the rest of the week, as necessary. After-school programming this week has been cancelled, and all parents will be notified of this loss in a letter going home with students this afternoon. We celebrate her life…her legacy…and her impact during the short time we had the privilege to serve with her.”
Additionally, in a phone interview, Dr. Hackney said, “She was truly a gift to our school district. There are some teachers that teach. There are others that truly believe they are called to the work. She believed it was her life’s purpose to mold children into the people they would become. She took that responsibility very, very seriously.”
Hackney recalled DuPont Principal Carla Fizer expressing how Reed had made her “very happy whenever we talked, no matter how formal or informal our interactions... I knew our babies were in good hands.”
“She loved DuPont. She was so happy there.,” said Dr. Hackney. “You just never know. We grieve her loss. The short time we had with her, and she had with us was so special for all involved. When you have to reconcile something like this, you certainly value the time you had. For me, it’s especially significant. It brings me great peace to know that she was of great faith... and to know that she is singing in Heaven.”