TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Students and staff are remembering Beth Olmstead, the principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Twin Falls, after she passed away on July 4.
The Twin Falls School District said she was about to enter her 19th year as a principal in their school district.
Near the steps of the school, flowers and posters are hung in memory and honor of her.
"Beth was an amazing person. Energetic, innovative, liked to think out of the box. She loved her family, she loved her school, loved her staff," said Ali Seamons, a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school.
Seamons said she's taught at the school for 13 years. 13 years that she's worked with Olmstead.
"She was someone that you cry with and laugh with and just go to whenever you needed her. She just tried all the time to be the best that she could be and helped us become the best that we could be," she said.
Lisa Honas, another kindergarten teacher, said Olmstead hired her right out of college and worked under her for nine years.
"I'm getting through it because I know Beth would want us to carry on with the school. Her number one concern would always be the school and the students," she continued. "She'd tell us, 'Guys, pick it up and move on,' and 'the school year's coming and you're going to get through it and you're going to do it together."
School counselors are available Monday and Tuesday for students and staff.
"If parents need to bring their children down and talk, we're here," Seamons said.
Patricia Hermann went to school at Lincoln Elementary when Olmstead was still a vice principal. She said she was in utter shock when she found out.
"She was the light at the end of the dark storm. She really was," Hermann said.
Sharlena Combs, Hermann's mother, knew Olmstead because of her kids. Combs said she had a child who was troubled and did not like school, so Olmstead would actually go to their house and talk to him.
"I've never known a teacher or a vice principal or a principal to care so much about a child, that they're willing to come home to the house, to get him up in the morning if that's what it took," Combs said.
Hermann said Olmstead would buy alarm clocks for underprivileged kids to help them get up for school if their parents couldn't do it.
Seamons said, although Olmstead was her boss, she was also one of her closest friends.
Honas said the staff is coping together, as Olmstead was the reason they're close in the first place.
"We're going to push through. We're going to be strong together and that the school year's going to be a good one, and that the education won't stop," Honas continued. "We're going to put learning first and our students first, because that's what Mrs. Olmstead has taught us."
A candlelight vigil will be held at Lincoln Elementary on Friday at 9 p.m.
"We're just trying to get more of the community that knew her past, present to come celebrate her life," Hermann said.
They will also have ribbons for students to line the fences in their school colors.
Twin Falls School District's Full statement:
"We are deeply saddened by the death of Beth Olmstead. She was a longtime educator in the Twin Falls School District and many of our staff members had the opportunity to work with her in different capacities over the years. She will be remembered as someone who had a passion for helping students and leading a building where staff and students built a family atmosphere. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in this difficult time.
Olmstead was most recently employed as the principal at Lincoln Elementary School and was entering her 19th year as a principal with the TFSD. Olmstead joined the district in 1992 as a guest teacher before becoming a sixth grade teacher at Bickel Elementary School where she taught from 1994 to 1999. Olmstead was the vice-principal at Oregon Trail and Perrine elementary schools for the 1999-2000 school year and became the principal at Lincoln starting with the 2000-2001 school year.
Recovering from this loss will take time and as a district we hope we can help the school community with support and care. In the coming days we will be communicating with Lincoln Elementary School parents. We ask that everyone offer their thoughts of support to Beth’s family and friends."
According to Reynolds Funeral Chapel, a viewing will be held Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at Reynolds Funeral Chapel from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, followed by a private family inurnment on Thursday, July 12.
The community is welcome to attend her Celebration of Life on Sunday, July 22 at 4:00 pm at Canyon Crest Event Center, 330 Canyon Crest Drive, Twin Falls.
Condolences may be left for the family by visiting The Reynolds Chapel website.