PERQUIMANS COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — A teacher at Hertford Grammar School died following a scheduled fire drill on Thursday, according to Perquimans County Schools Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman.
The fire drill happened around 10 a.m. Cheeseman said as the kids were headed inside, fifth grade teacher Kimberly Daugherty said she was feeling light-headed and needed to sit down.
Daugherty died due to complications related to a pulmonary embolism, according to Cheeseman. No students were around at the time.
“Teaching was her all,” said fellow teacher Lisa Sawyer. “It is what she did.”
Daugherty spent 19 years as a teacher in Perquimans County, the last few at Hertford Grammar.
“She put a lot of effort into teaching, but teaching wasn’t her only passion,” added fellow teacher Lisa Lane. “Those kids were her passion.”
After a fire drill, the 45-year-old Daugherty collapsed.
“I was right beside her,” Hertford Grammar Principal John Lassiter said. “I was holding her hand.”
Lassiter said a prayer, and those would be his last words to her.
“It is something I will never forget, but there is nowhere that I would have rather been,” Lassiter added.
On Friday the playground is quiet, there are no little voices in the hallways.
“It trickled into every area from this elementary school, to the middle school and to the high school,” Lane said.
Co-workers say Daugherty was the teacher’s teacher, the first to arrive and the last to leave.
“Kim never did anything less than 100 percent,” Sawyer added.
“It is not easy to be a teacher now and it’s extremely difficult to be the type of teacher Kim is,” Lassiter said.
“It’s just a great loss for us,” Lane added.
Daugherty is the daughter of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Jim “Catfish” Hunter. Hunter died of ALS and Daugherty spent her life raising money to fight the disease.
“She will not be forgotten,” Lane said. “Her legacy lives on in this school.”
School officials are now trying to figure out a way to honor her memory.