ROCKFORD — The community lost a selfless educator, a loving husband and an avid trivia competitor with the death of Mike Padron.
Padron was 38. He was a teacher at Summit Academy, the alternative school run by the Boone-Winnebago County Regional Office of Education.
He had recently received a diagnosis of COVID-19, family members said, and was recuperating at home when he died unexpectedly Thursday.
His wife, Nikki, a teacher at Rockford’s Spring Creek Elementary School, also received a COVID-19 diagnosis, family members said.
“I lost my husband yesterday," Nikki Padron said in a statement released to the Rockford Register Star. "It was not just a loss for me but also for his family, friends and students. He never wanted for himself, it was always for everyone else. He was a gentle soul and a fierce trivia competitor."
Her husband dedicated his career to helping Rockford’s "most delicate students," she said. "His death is a tragic loss to his family, friends and the students he served.”
Mike Padron was a graduate of Boylan Catholic High School and Rockford University. Before teaching language arts at Summit Academy, he taught at Rockford’s Kennedy Middle School. He was nominated for a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014.
Scott Bloomquist, regional superintendent of the Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education, said students and staff were shocked and saddened by Padron’s sudden death.
"He was a favorite of both students and staff and will be greatly missed," Bloomquist said in a statement released to the Rockford Register Star on Friday. "Mr. Padron worked hard every day to connect with students and parents, doing all he could to meet their needs. He will forever be remembered as an educator who put students first."
Bloomquist said counselors and therapy dogs were at the school Friday to meet with staff members and students.
Padron was the grandson of longtime Rockford politician E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi.
Padron’s cousin, Rockford attorney Dave Vella, said Padron was a dedicated educator and "a great cousin. … I will miss him terribly."
Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell announced the county’s first coronavirus outbreak at a school Thursday afternoon. She told reporters at a news conference that Rockford’s Spring Creek Elementary School had five to 10 cases among the staff.
A teacher from Spring Creek raised concerns about COVID-19 and safety at the school during a Nov. 10 Rockford School Board meeting. The teacher said she was one of 11 teachers that she knew of who had received a COVID-19 diagnosis since Oct. 28.
via Peoria Journal Star
November 21, 2020 at 07:37AM