A staff member from Richardson ISD’s Christa McAuliffe Learning Center, the district’s alternative learning campus, and a student from Berkner High School both died last week as a result of complications from coronavirus, according to a letter Monday from superintendent Jeannie Stone.

Families of CMLC teacher Eroletta Piascyk, known as Erol by friends, and Berkner junior Sha’Niyah McGee, who went by Nienie, have confirmed the cause of death, and both gave permission to communicate the information to the RISD community, Stone wrote.

In her letter, Stone describes McGee as “kind, respectful and a valued member of the BHS family” and Piascyk as “compassionate, gracious and a talented educator.”

“Both Nienie and Eroletta were highly cherished members of our RISD family and they will be fondly remembered and missed by their classmates and fellow teachers,” Stone noted. “All of us at the Richardson Independent School District are deeply saddened by this loss and want you to know that we are here to help you in any way we can. RISD counselors have shared this news with campus staff and students, and will remain available for anyone who would like some help processing the news.”

In a 2009 Letter to the Editor in Dallas Morning News, Piascyk responded to a story about alternative schools, defending both staff and students at the center where she taught for more than 20 years.

“Every teacher has a teaching degree, many have master’s degrees, and several are earning doctoral degrees … We treat each student as a cherished young person who has made a mistake, and our goal is to get them back where they belong,” she noted.

The superintendent added that she is in contact with both families and are supporting them in every way possible.

Those who wish to offer condolences can email condolences@g.risd.org and RISD counselors will pass messages along.

This is a breaking/ developing story. 

Richardson ISD will stream its school board meeting tonight beginning at 6 p.m.