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"Teacher of the Year" dies two weeks after award

Image: Normal Park

Funeral services are Monday night for a 4th grade teacher in Hamilton County. Bethany Schklar died Friday night. She was involved in a car crash on Brainerd Road on Monday, January 21.

Teachers at Normal Park Elementary voted Bethany Schklar Teacher of the Year early January 2019.

Now just a few weeks later, they’re grieving her sudden death.

A typical Monday is seen as a fresh start to the school week.

It’s also a day Schklar counted down to.

"Most teachers look forward to Friday because that means the weekend, but it takes a rare person who looks forward to a Monday," said Rabbi Craig Lewis, with Mizpah Congregation in Chattanooga.

But this Monday, students pass Mrs. Schklar's 4th grade class with heavy hearts.

One week ago on Monday, Schklar was turning left on to Brainerd Road. That’s when, police say, another car smashed into the 37-year-old's car.

On Friday, died from her injuries.

"It's an untold effect that it will have," said Lewis.

Lewis teaches 210 Jewish families at Mizpah Congregation. Bethany, Josh and their two-year-old son are one of those families.

"People who met Bethany loved her immediately and it was always reciprocated," said Lewis.

Although he didn’t experience her math or science classes, he’ll remember the lessons she taught him.

“To give your all to something, to apply creativity," said Lewis.

So as the temple prepares to host her friends, family and students, this Monday comes with mourning.

Saying goodbye to a wife, mother, daughter, teacher and friend.

School leaders at Normal Park Upper School say they had three therapy dogs in classes Monday.

They also had counselors in every 4th and 5th grade class to help students with the grieving process. Read their full statement here:

"Our school community has rallied together to support our students, staff and the Schklar family. We are grateful and appreciative for all of their support as we grieve the loss of a treasured colleague, teacher and friend.

This morning, our crisis team was on campus to support the emotional needs of our students and staff. Counselors were in every 4th grade and 5th grade classroom where a grief processing activity took place which involved sharing memories and stories of Mrs. Schklar. While support is available throughout the day as needed for our students, we are working to maintain the consistency of our learning environment as we know this is what’s best for our students and their grieving process.

Mrs. Schklar was an extraordinary teacher, friend and mentor to our school community. She had recently been voted by her colleagues as our school’s teacher of the year for the 2018-2019 school year. Mrs. Schklar was a valued member of our faculty and impacted many in our community. This will be a difficult time for all, and the Normal Park community will continue to support each other and the Schklar family.

Carrie Willmore, Principal"

We reached out to Chattanooga police about this deadly accident.

They could not comment on whether charges will be filed against the other driver.

The two people in the other car are in stable condition.

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