A Walkersville kindergarten teacher died before she could pursue her passion for helping children with special needs. In recent years, she’d become increasingly interested in moving toward work in special education, her husband told her assistant principal over the phone on Monday.
It was going to be the next step in her career as a teacher.
But just before 6 p.m. Friday, Lacey Finneyfrock, 42, died in a car crash a few miles from her home in Pennsylvania.
“I got a call about this Friday evening from another teacher at school with no details, just that Lacey had been in some type of terrible accident she did not survive,” said Edward Hargreaves, assistant principal at Walkersville Elementary. “I came in first thing Saturday morning. Our school counselor met me here. Between the two of us we tried to make contact with all the staff. We just didn’t want anyone to hear about it any other way.”
Finneyfrock taught kindergarten for a decade at Walkersville Elementary School. She was the teacher to whom every family hoped their child would be assigned, her colleagues said.
Experienced yet always looking to learn, she often served as a mentor for young teachers at Walkersville Elementary and for college students planning to become teachers themselves. She took on interns from Hood College and dedicated extra time to talking with them and colleagues in a give-and-take relationship.
She was the mother of five daughters, including elementary-aged twins, and is survived by her children and husband. Despite a full plate at home, she still made teaching a priority in her life, dedicating her free time to her students and fellow teachers.
After a stint at Glade Elementary School and at a private Christian school, Finneyfrock began teaching at Walkersville Elementary in 2008. She taught for 10 years alongside Jill McWilliams, a kindergarten teacher on her team.
“She was our family. We were friends outside of being co-workers,” McWilliams said on Monday. “She always went above and beyond. She’s a very busy lady with five daughters of her own, and yet she put [in] 110 percent of herself.”
This month has already been one of grieving for the Frederick County Public Schools community. A few weeks ago, the community lost a longtime advocate for struggling families in Frederick, Jet Reid, director of student services.
FCPS is offering counseling and support services to those affected.
“She was the total-package kind of teacher. Very conscientious, quiet and sweet, she just went about her business,” Hargreaves said, describing Finneyfrock. “She could take the toughest student and just do wonders with that student.”
Her husband plans to start a grant or scholarship of some kind in Finneyfrock’s name, benefiting special education programs and the children she was so passionate about, as a way of honoring his wife.