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Lynn Fanning Elementary teacher dies from COVID; former student reflects on teacher’s lasting impact

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 8:01 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:38 PM CDT
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MERIDIANVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Madison County Schools community is mourning the loss of one of their own. A third-grade teacher at Lynn Fanning Elementary School has passed away from COVID-19.

Spokesperson for Madison County Schools Tim Hall confirmed that Kattie Brocato was the teacher that passed away from the virus. Brocato taught at Endeavor Elementary for a few years before she began teaching at Lynn Fanning Elementary.

5th grader Brycen Dillon of Madison County Schools said Mrs. Brocato was his favorite teacher. Dillon was in her third-grade class at Endeavor Elementary.

“She’s nice, patient, she really loved her students, she helped us a lot, she explained stuff to us that we didn’t understand,” Dillon said. “She was overall a very very great teacher.”

Brycen Dillon’s mother, Danielle Dillon, said Brycen struggles a bit with learning, but this beloved teacher always went the extra mile to make sure he thrived.

“She just cared, she was a very caring teacher and we continued talking for months afterwards,” Danielle Dillon said. “She wanted to make sure he was okay,” Danielle Dillon said.

Following the announcement, Beverly Sims with the Alabama Education Association said she received many messages from educators who worked with Sims.

“I heard from some who worked with her, who were saying nothing but good things about her,” Sims said. “And even though I did not know Kattie personally, after reading all the comments that were being posted, it touched my heart.”

Sims also heard from some teachers and bus drivers following the announcement who said their fears have been realized. Sims believes schools across the Tennessee Valley need to take stricter COVID-19 safety precautions.

“Right now we have classrooms with 30-plus students,” she said. “There is no physical way to social distance. Our schools don’t have resources for proper cleaning and adequate cleaning at night.”

Spokesperson Hall responded and said the district has ample cleaning supplies and ensures every building is cleaned thoroughly.

Ultimately, Sims hopes everybody does their part as we continue to fight this deadly virus, and honor Mrs. Brocato while doing so.

“My heart goes out to them,” she said. “They of course are extremely sad to lose her. They were extremely sad that her six-year-old son has to live without his mother. It’s just a tragedy all the way around.”

Young Brycen Dillon is feeling sad but doing his best to stay strong. He said he hopes his classmates can find the faith he has found.

“For her family, I want to say I am very sorry for you all and just know when somebody has to go, they have to go...and God bless you all,” he said.

Lynn Fanning and Endeavor Elementary schools have additional counselors on the campuses for students and staff.

Madison County Schools cannot release any information about Brocato’s health history or vaccination status.

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