SALEM — Bentley Academy Charter School is mourning the loss of a teacher just a week before classes begin for the new school year.
In an announcement to the community Tuesday, interim Superintendent Kathleen Smith said the school lost fourth-grade math teacher Jennifer "Jeffie" Chapin on Aug. 11 after an equestrian accident in Vermont.
Chapin, an amateur horse rider, was fatally injured in an accident at the Green Mountain Horse Association's Festival of Eventing in South Woodstock, Vermont, on Sunday, according to a statement from the United States Eventing Association.
A 32-year-old Wenham resident, Chapin was riding Joinem, her 12-year-old thoroughbred, "when they suffered a rotational fall in the cross country warm-up," the statement said. She was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries. Her horse wasn't injured in the fall, the statement said.
Chapin taught in the Salem Public Schools starting in the 2017-18 school year, according to Smith.
"Jeffie's colleagues described her as a dedicated teacher who went above and beyond to inspire her students," Smith wrote. "Ms. Chapin had a positive, lasting impact on her colleagues and students that will not be forgotten."
Chapin was an active member of school's Family Engagement Leadership Team and a leader in its Houses initiative, according to Smith.
Bentley Academy, a Horace Mann charter school in Salem, is due to start school for grades 1-5 on Monday, Aug. 19. Kindergarteners start Aug. 26.
As such, the school will have members from the district's crisis response team on-hand "to provide grief counseling to staff, students and families," Smith wrote. "Please do not hesitate to contact the Bentley Charter School's main office if you or your child is in need of additional supports."