Avondale elementary teacher, 34, killed in I-94 crash

Jaclyn Scott

TroyA 34-year-old Chesterfield Township woman who died Tuesday in a six-vehicle crash on Interstate 94 was an elementary school teacher in her first year with Avondale Public Schools, the district confirmed.

Jacyln Marie Scott taught a second- and third-grade class for gifted and talented students at Woodland Elementary in Troy, said spokeswoman Annette McAvoy in a statement. Police confirmed her identity Wednesday night.

Scott's job required creativity to challenge the kind of student who says they get bored at school. Parents reported that Scott excelled in that capacity, McAvoy added.

Wednesday morning at district offices started at 6:15, with officials making phone calls to the parents of Scott's students informing them of the loss. 

Later that hour, the district sent a letter to families. 

School staff met for a half-hour that morning before school started, and social workers and counselors were made available to the families in Scott's class. A social worker and the principal spoke jointly to both Scott's students and their parents.

Parents were allowed to choose whether to take their child home after getting the news or to stay in class as long as they felt it necessary. Some families talked through Scott's death at home. Some stayed.

The children who stayed wrote out their thoughts, drew, and made cards to send to Scott's family.

In a statement, Avondale superintendent James Schwarz said Scott's "enthusiasm for teaching and learning was evident through her interactions with students, colleagues and administrators. Bright and energetic, Jaclyn encouraged her young students to engage in the learning process, inspiring them to strive for a life of learning. She will be missed. Though she was only in our school family for a short time, she touched many people."

Before coming to Avondale, Scott taught first grade in Dearborn Public Schools.

A teacher's blog Scott posted while at Whitmore-Bolles Elementary School earlier this year said Scott was excited to come back to Michigan and teach in Dearborn after teaching in North Carolina for nine years.

"When I’m not at school, I love to spend time with friends and family and to hang out with my old, blind dog named Frankenstein. I look forward to getting to know all of the families at Whitmore-Bolles! I’m so excited to see all of the growth that will happen throughout this and future years!" the blog said.

Scott had a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Oakland University with a major in language arts and a minor in mathematics and a master's degree in elementary education with a specialization in technology from Michigan State University, according to the blog.

Katie Petterle, Scott's cousin, said Scott was loved by her friends and family.

"She’s not just my cousin — she’s one of my best friends," Petterle said. "We’re a really close-knit family and every time we’d get together, we spent almost all the time laughing. Her personality brought out the best in all of us, especially her unwavering commitment to fun."