FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Students and teachers at Croissant Park Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale mourned the loss of their beloved principal Tuesday morning after she died from injuries that she suffered in a motorcycle crash over the weekend.
"(She was) a phenomenal educator, a beautiful person and a loving mom," Dr. Valeria Wanza from the Broward County Public School District said.
Jamie Maradiaga was badly injured in a motorcycle accident Saturday in Collier County. She was airlifted to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where she died early Tuesday.
"She didn't care what it took. She wanted her kids to have the best of everything and wouldn't stop until they did," Hawkes Bluff Elementary School Principal Melinda Cunningham said.
Some of Maradiaga's fellow principals and closest friends gathered at the school to comfort students, staff and one another.
"Her smile was contagious. Her laugh was infectious. That's what we want them to remember," Oakland Park Elementary School Principal Michelle Garcia said.
Maradiaga, who was a single mother of three boys, had hundreds of students whom she considered children of her own. She worked for the Broward County School District for more than 25 years and as a principal for the last six years.
"No one can ever replace that or replace her," Garcia said. "We want her legacy to live on through that and through the children."
The school district sent more than 20 principals to the school on Tuesday to assist in day-to-day operations. They also sent 70 teachers and crisis support staff.
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