Dr. Katherine Koonce Bio – Dr. Katherine Koonce Wiki
Dr. Katherine Koonce elementary school principal is one of six individuals who were killed after a shooter opened fire at a private school on Monday.
Dr. Katherine Koonce was 60 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
Dr. Katherine Koonce the head of The Covenant School, died after 28-year-old Audrey Hale, who once attended the Nashville-based institution, entered through the side entrance of its building before opening fire, explained Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron in a press conference.
Koonce is remembered as a good friend and passionate educator.
Diane Button told PEOPLE she met Koonce when her 8-year-old daughter started at Christ Presbyterian Academy, where Koonce worked before moving to the Covenant School.
“Katherine was as solid as a friend could be,” Button said. “Her faith was her foundation. Her family was her greatest love, yet she always wanted to work and give back so other families and children could also feel loved and cared for.”
Koonce was there for Button during a cancer diagnosis.
“Their family was so good to us, and Katherine always made sure my daughter was included. She made such a big difference in our lives,” Button said. “You could always count on Katherine to show up with her giant heart and her brilliant mind. There is no doubt in my mind that she died while giving herself wholeheartedly to those children and co-workers she loved so much.”
NEXT: Who is Hallie Scruggs? Bio, Wiki, Age, Murder, Police Report
Rev. Dr. M.D. Edmonson said on Twitter that he recently “had the great privilege of worshipping with Dr. Katherine Koonce, head of Covenant School.”
“Today, she went to be with the savior she loved while protecting the children she loved. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy,” Edmonson said.
“She was such a beautiful person,” adds Olivia Bell, a friend of Koonce in a statement to PEOPLE.
“She took me under her wing during Covid. We met playing pickleball and played as partners in a couple of tournaments. She loved her school. She was always answering her cell phone and helping her teachers when they had questions. She had such a great outlook on life and I am better for knowing her. It is so senseless and tragic.”
The school’s custodian, Mike Hill, 61, and Cynthia Peak, 61, identified as a staff member by Nashville News Channel 5, were also among the adult victims. Three 9-year-old children — Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, 9 — were also identified as victims.
Prior to her start at the school, Koonce served as the Director of Learning Services and Academic Dean at Nashville’s Christ Presbyterian Academy. According to her LinkedIn profile, she received her doctorate degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2015.
Koonce was announced as The Covenant School’s new Head of School in April 2016. According to its website, The Covenant School was founded in 2001 by the Covenant Presbyterian Church, and the average enrollment is between 195 and 210 students.
“At the Covenant School, we are about more than simply educating our students — we are participating in the miracle of their development and seeing them transform into who they will be,” reads a letter written by Koonce found on the school’s website. “Impactful teaching methods and programs, daily all-school chapel, and school-wide service-learning are the backdrops for the real work — helping children become who God intends them to be.
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