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Remembering Jake Kelly: Teacher Describes Co-Worker as Calm, Passionate

Waukesha STEM Academy-Saratoga Campus teacher Tina Koch shares memories of seventh-grade teacher who passed away last week.

Editor's Note: The following is an e-mail from W teacher Tina Koch about , who passed away last week while out running. Kelly was a popular seventh-grade teacher at the school.

I worked alongside Jake as a seventh-grade teacher at the Waukesha STEM Academy. Even though Jake and I only really knew each other for a few months, we grew quite close within a small amount of time. He loved to teach and this passion was clear in both talking and teaching with him. I feel like I've lost an incredibly great friend. We share similar interests in education, sports, running, and music.

In teaching with him, his calm manner and his ability to ensure that "everything will turn out" fine was incredible. I remember coming into our weekly STEaM meeting a couple weeks back, stressed about all that was going on. He said, "Just relax Tina. We are a team and we'll work together to make sure everything gets done." What can I say? He was right.

His sense of humor was priceless. I never knew whether he was being sarcastic or not, but at the end of the day, he kept us laughing with inside jokes and funny movie lines. The students loved this about him. In light of all that was happening, he always saw the bright side of things.

The support and kind words from everyone has really helped us. Thank you to the community for their kind words and support through this very difficult time for the students, the staff, his team and his family.

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