Assistant Principal Dies, After Being Hit by Car
Wendy Suarez was an assistant principal at Jessie P. Miller Elementary in Bradenton.
Suarez, 41, was on a car trip Friday to visit her brother on Florida's east coast, when the accident occurred near Okeechobee, the newspaper reported.
Suarez had stopped at a gas station and left her car to ask for directions, when she was hit by a car, Principal Barry Dunn told the Herald Tribune.
Suarez had worked at the school since 2011. She was considered a positive force and someone who cared a lot for students as well as staff, Dunn told the Herald. She leaves behind her husband, Frank, and two children, Frankie and Emilie. The school has promised to keep families updated about plans for a memorial.
The front of the school's website was a tribute to Mrs. Suarez Monday. According to an open letter to the school community:
"We will remember Mrs. Suarez as an inspirational leader who was admired for her spirit, determination, and dedication to our staff and students. Mrs. Suarez was a counselor at Harlee Middle School as well as an administrator at Braden River, Daughtrey, Witt, Palmetto, and Tillman Elementary schools before coming to Miller in January of 2011. She immediately became part of our Miller family and was always dedicated to our students, helping them strive to reach their full potential."
On Monday morning, students made cards and drew pictures to give to Suarez's family. "When she was here she always had a smile on her face," Dunn said. "She inspired a lot of people to get healthy."
Mrs. Suarez recently developed a passion for running and had begun running many local 5K races and had recently completed a half marathon. She was looking forward to running a half marathon with her husband Frank in Washington DC in April. She has inspired many of our staff members to lead healthy lives and was always willing to listen. Miller staff and students will keep Wendy's husband Frank, and children Frankie and Emilie in our thoughts as as we go through this difficult time.