The Adair County School District joins the rest of the community in mourning the death of beloved teacher Kim Downs, who passed away this week after a lengthy battle with ALS.
“This is a sad time in our schools and in our county,” says interim Supt. Dr. Pam Stephens. “Mrs. Downs left her mark on a lot of people and we send out our prayers to her friends and family. It’s a big loss.”
Downs began her teaching career at Colonel William Casey Elementary School in 1997 and moved on to Adair County Primary Center when the school opened in 2013, teaching until 2015. She was selected by the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce as Educator of the Year in her final year at ACPC. To those she worked closest with, she’s remembered as an inspiration both inside and outside the classroom. “Kim was by far one of the best teachers I’ve worked with my entire life – a true leader,” says ACPC Principal Patty Jones. “She impacted everyone here.”
Sarah Burton, one of Downs’ coworkers at ACPC, student taught under Downs when she was completing her degree, and says she continued to look to her as a mentor even after Burton’s own teaching career took off. “She was the best I’ve ever seen in the classroom,” Burton says. “That’s me speaking both as a teacher and as a parent whose child had her in class. She was unbelievable.”
Burton and Jones’ memories are far from outliers. Everyone who knew Downs remembers her for her intelligence and passion for helping students. Her loss will be felt for years to come, but the Adair County School District is in a better place because Kim Downs chose to work here.