MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Students and staff at Middletown City Schools spent Monday mourning the loss of Kimberly Ann Cooper, a Middletown native who dedicated 20 years of her life to teaching at her hometown’s schools.
"The kids came in emotional," said Carolyn Mack, the district’s interim senior director for curriculum and instruction. "They didn’t know how to respond."
Cooper, 47, who taught sixth-grade social studies at Highview Sixth Grade Center, died Friday in her home. According to Mack, she had called in sick the day before. Cooper’s husband, children and extended family were all still waiting for an autopsy to learn the cause of her death Monday night, according to a family friend.
In the meantime, the students and coworkers whose lives she touched spent the school day remembering a woman they described as “really funny” and “a wonderful teacher."
"She was a special person,” said Diamond Tucker, a seventh-grade student who took Cooper’s social studies class in 2015. "I found out (that she died) by my little cousin, and I felt sorry and I started crying after that."
Mack said they wrote notes about her during class and that she encouraged all of her students to be open and supportive about the emotions they were experiencing in the wake of Cooper’s death.
"We told them it was okay to give hugs, it was okay to walk out of class, to talk and deal with what they are having to deal with," she said.
The surviving members of the Cooper family, including Kimberly’s husband, Robert, and their triplets, Madeline, Cameron and Colin, have set up a trust fund via Middletown Area Schools Credit Union. The fund would benefit the triplets.