Red Bank, Westview elementary schools each mourn a teacher's death

Red Bank, Westview elementary schools each mourn a teacher's death

September 24th, 2018 by Meghan Mangrum in Local Regional News

Hamilton County Schools' educators, students and families are mourning the loss of two local teachers this week.

Karen Saxton, a teacher at Westview Elementary, was killed in a fiery crash on Highway 58 Saturday night.

Red Bank Elementary teacher Danielle McBath also died Saturday from a "sudden illness," according to Hamilton County Schools spokesman Tim Hensley.

McBath, 29, was a first-year teacher at Red Bank Elementary but had previously worked at Lakeside Academy. She taught first grade at Red Bank.

Saxton, 64, taught fourth grade at Westview.

The district's crisis response team, a team of counselors who respond to schools that have been affected by a tragic event, was present at three schools Monday, according to Hensley — Lakeside, Red Bank and Westview.

"They are there as much for the staff as they are for the kids," Hensley said. "It was staff that needed the most attention initially."

Each school has three to four counselors present. The classes that have lost their teachers had a mix of other teachers, administrators, counselors and parent volunteers present Monday.

Jason Nicely posted on Facebook that his daughter was a current student of Saxton.

"Prayers for the family of Karen Saxton and the children and staff at Westview Elementary. My daughter Bella is in her class right now," he wrote. "Talking to your own child about losing someone they love is one of the worst things I have had to do. Prayers needed for all the family and friends, and especially the children at Westview who loved her and learned from her."

Red Bank Elementary also posted on the school's Facebook page about McBath.

"Danielle brought her huge heart from Lakeside Academy to Red Bank Elementary this school year. She bonded quickly with our staff and connected easily with her first grade students as she was known for having an individualized handshake, high five or greeting for each of her students. Danielle laughed readily and took on adventures ranging from STEM education to skydiving. Her classroom has been decorated with clouds as she encouraged her students to ponder "oh, the places you'll go!" the post read.

Counselors will be present at the schools throughout the week, Hensley said.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.