Together, Connie McDade and her husband, Lee McDade, gave decades to the students of Hamilton County Schools.
On Friday, after suffering several months of illness, Connie McDade, assistant principal of Big Ridge Elementary School, died.
Connie McDade had worked in the district since 1996, first as a teacher at Thrasher Elementary and then as an assistant principal at Big Ridge.
"It's heartbreaking," said District 3 School Board member Joe Smith, who has known the McDades for many years. "Every time you see Connie, she always had a smile on her face."
According to a release from the district, school administrators visited Connie McDade in the hospital the morning of her death. They were there in support of both Connie, and her husband, an assistant superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.
"We express our condolences as a system to Dr. McDade and his family and want to stand beside him and support him," said Superintendent Bryan Johnson. "Connie McDade, from all accounts, has just been a phenomenal leader in the system and will be sorely missed."
Connie McDade moved to Big Ridge Elementary to serve as assistant principal in 2016.
Both husband and wife are considered by many to be long-time servants and pillars of the community.
"Almost every morning, she'd be standing at the door [at Big Ridge], greeting kids with a smile on her face," Smith said. "She will certainly be missed."
Additional counselors were provided for staff and students at Big Ridge Elementary School Friday. Because of early school closures, counselors were also to be available at both Big Ridge and Thrasher early next week.
"Connie McDade was loved by the children and she was a tremendous friend and mentor to teachers at Big Ridge and Thrasher. The loss of Connie McDade has hit the Hamilton County school family very hard because of the special place Connie McDade and Dr. Lee McDade both hold in the hearts of teachers and system personnel," reads a statement from the district.
Staff at Big Ridge Elementary and Thrasher Elementary were unable to be reached Friday. Hamilton County Schools released students two hours early because of inclement weather.
Arrangements for have not yet been announced.