Beloved Newcastle teacher passes away

April 5, 2013

By Staff

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UPDATED — 4:25 p.m. April 11, 2013

Newcastle Elementary School announced today that beloved teacher Katie Tinnea has passed away.

Tinnea, a first-grade teacher at the school, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2011.

In an email to Newcastle families, the school said that additional staff would be onsite today to support the needs of students, staff and family members.

The school is offering counselors for both parents and students throughout the day. Parents who wish to speak with a counselor can go to the school’s library where they can share memories, seek guidance on how to talk to children about her death, and find resources that address grief and loss.

The Lion’s Club portable will also be staffed with counselors for students that need to talk to someone.

In the email, the school encouraged parents to be “open, honest and caring when sharing information” with their children.

The school also offered the following tips:

  • Share factual information and use proper concrete words, such as died, death and cancer.
  • Questions should be answered as honestly and directly as possible.
  • Acknowledge that it is OK to cry, to be sad or angry.
  • As adults, it is helpful to model appropriate expressions of feelings and let children know that they have permission to verbalize what they are experiencing.

Tinnea is survived by her daughter Kennedy and husband Ryan.

A public memorial service to celebrate Katie’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, 1717 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue, WA 98004, on Sunday, April 21, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Katie’s name can be made to the Colon Cancer Coalition.

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