Sad day – School offers students grief counseling
The Museum School community woke Sunday to the news that one of its most-involved parents and her daughter had died in a fire over the weekend.
A house fire killed Tami Willadsen, 43, and Jess Willadsen, 10. The father, Dave, sustained minor injuries while the son, Jack, 5, was in critical condition in the Grady Hospital burn unit as of Sunday. Tami Willadsen was known in the community for her philanthropy. She was she was chairwoman of the board for EarthShare of Georgia, President of the Museum School Foundation and in November was named Director of Philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. She led the charter school’s capital campaign.
A few of Jess’ classmates posted comments online yesterday mourning the loss of their friend.
“It will be very quiet in the classroom on Monday because Jess won’t be there,” one of the students wrote.
The Museum School announced on Monday, April 14, that it would be offering grief counselors for students and setting up a support room for parents and students.
“On a personal level, the board and principal are devastated by the loss of Tami, our Museum School Foundation President and her daughter,” the letter from the Museum School says. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their family at this time.”
Here is the full letter from the Museum School to parents.
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the loss of one of our fourth grade students, Jess Willadsen, and her mother, Tami, who perished in a house fire early Sunday morning. While we do not have details of the fire, we want parents to be aware, so you may speak to your children prior to Monday morning classes, should you choose to do so. You’ll find some resources below that may assist you with conversations about grief with children.
Principal Kelbaugh has organized additional grief counselors who will be on school campus next week to provide support for students, faculty, and parents. Fourth grade classrooms will be told of the loss of Jess, but no other campus-wide announcements will be made. A support room is being set up for students on the second floor and one for parents on the lower level in the conference room and gifted room. Again, counselors will be on campus and in classrooms to provide any support needed; however, parents wishing to keep students home may do so.
On a personal level, the board and principal are devastated by the loss of Tami, our Museum School Foundation President and her daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family at this time.