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*Updated* A Message from Principal Douthit

*Update 12-06-18*

Hello Goldsmith-Schiffman Families,

Thank you for all of the kind calls, emails, cards and messages sending us your condolences on the loss of our 2nd grade teacher, Christa Kilbourn. The faculty, staff and I appreciate your thoughtfulness so much. I wanted to share with you the arrangements for Ms. Kilbourn's visitation and funeral:

  • Visitation- Friday (tomorrow) 5-7pm at Berryhill Funeral Home: 2305 North Memorial Parkway
  • Funeral- Saturday 2pm at Holmes Street United Methodist Church: 501 Holmes Avenue
  • Burial- Immediately following her funeral at Valhalla Cemetery: 698 Winchester Road

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in Christa's honor be made to Holmes Street United Methodist Church or The American Diabetes Association.

Thank you,

Jennifer Douthit

Dear GSES Families,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I let you know that Christa Kilbourn, one of our amazing 2nd grade teachers, passed away at the hospital today. Ms. Kilbourn suffered from complications due to Type I diabetes and went into a diabetic coma and cardiac arrest.

Ms. Kilbourn was new to the GSES family this school year, but came to us with many years of teaching experience, and quickly became a part of the GSES family. I do not remember a day that I did not see her with a big smile on her face telling me how happy she was here and how much she loved her students. We are deeply saddened over the loss of such a kind and gentle soul.

We are letting you know all of this prior to the school announcement so you have the opportunity to determine how to best handle this as a family. Some of you may wish to talk to your children about it this evening and others may choose to wait until after we’ve spoken to them. However you choose to discuss this with your children is perfectly acceptable. We have prepared a statement that will be read in all of our classrooms first thing tomorrow morning. Many of our students did not know Ms. Kilbourn, as she was new to GSES, but we also realize the importance of informing our school community.

Our two school counselors, Mrs. Newman and Mrs. Dodd, and I will speak to Ms. Kilbourn’s class in the morning and plan to be with them as much as possible throughout the day. All homeroom teachers will read the prepared statement to their classes. Our faculty met with the grief counselors from The Caring House this afternoon after school so we can be better prepared to answer any questions our students may have. We will also have in the library an emotional support area for any students who feel they need to talk or just have a break. The Caring House, The Enrichment Center and Huntsville City Schools are providing us with grief counselors on site tomorrow.

When we speak to the students we will encourage them to talk with you if they have any questions or concerns. We will also let them know that there are people at school who care about them and are willing to listen. Please feel free to call or email me if there is any other way we can be of assistance.


Jennifer Douthit