Community remembers teacher killed in crash - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Community remembers teacher killed in crash

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Parents, students and staff outside Hawthorne Elementary School in Keokuk on Tuesday. Parents, students and staff outside Hawthorne Elementary School in Keokuk on Tuesday.
KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

Parents, students and staff in the Keokuk Community School District remembered a teacher killed Tuesday morning when a minivan hit her.

Kirsten Wrieden was a first-grade teacher in the school district for more than 20 years. Jessica West said Mrs. Wrieden touched many lives, including her daughter's.

"It was hard. She was a big part of my daughter's life, a couple of year's ago when she was in first grade," West said. 

Superintendent Christine Barnes said the news devastated the entire staff. 

"Kiersten was a very beloved teacher in our district and it's a horrible loss for the district and the community." 

West said when she was going through a medical problem, Mrs. Wrieden was there for her daughter. 

"She really helped my daughter come out of her shell and deal with things better. She was a huge part and she's an awesome teacher, one of the best at Hawthorne."

Ryan McDonald and his mom Kristin Sing contacted WGEM to talk about Ryan's first grade teacher. Ryan said school won't be the same now.

"Mrs. Wrieden was my favorite and she was my dad's friend. I liked her so much, she was my best friend and that's all I need to say. I'm gonna miss her," McDonald said.

Ryan's mother said she would talk to Mrs. Wrieden everyday on the phone to get an update on how her son was doing. On Tuesday, she didn't get a call and heard the news from school staff.  

Barnes said Mrs. Wrieden taught at the school for 24 years and made a big impact.

"Hundreds of people, if not thousands over the years. It's a long time to impact kids in such a positive way."

It wasn't only students, but parents as well. 

"I had one parent say, I nearly spoke with her everyday. She really had that ability to connect with people," Barnes said.

West said there was one thing that stood out about Mrs. Wreiden. 

"Her smile, Her smile. She always had this great welcoming thing when Gracie, my daughter, would walk in and she was a great big, happy, lovable person," West said.

School officials said grief counselors were on hand all day and were present with the Hawthorne students as they were told the news. Counselors will remain available in the future for support.

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