Employees of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools are mourning the death of a colleague.
Kimberly Burch, a speech language pathologist at Sherwood Forest Elementary School, died on Jan. 6 at Kernersville Medical Center, according to her obituary. An employee of the district since 2004, Burch spent most of her career at Brunson Elementary School before going to Sherwood Forest. She also previously worked at Reynolds High School.
Burch was 55.
Parents and colleagues praised Burch on social media for her work with students.
Burch worked with Theresa Bryant's son, Daniel, when he was at Brunson. Burch filled him with encouragement while keeping Bryant and her husband updated regularly with progress reports.
"He looked forward to going to her speech class," said Bryant, a teacher at West Forsyth High School. "She was so personable and genuine. We were blessed to have her."
Daniel Bryant credited Burch with teaching him strategies that made his speech impediment less noticeable and introducing to a summer camp geared to kids with speech issues.
“She went way above and beyond, and I’m super grateful for that,” said Daniel, now a ninth-grader at West Forsyth. “She just really cared and was an amazing person.”
Burch is survived by her husband and two children.
The cause of death has not been confirmed.
Jacob Lowther, the principal at Sherwood Forest, praised Burch.
“She made lasting, strong relationships with our students and families,” he said in a statement. “Her personalized work in the area of speech made a positive difference for the students she served. She will be deeply missed.”
Interim Superintendent Tricia McManus said that while she didn’t know Burch, she knows that her work made an impact.
“In her role, she touched many young lives as they worked to build strong communication and language skills,” McManus said in a statement.
The school district’s crisis team is working with staff and students as needed, according to school spokesman Brent Campbell.
School resumes on Monday after a three-week holiday break.