Trinidadian Dez-Ann Romain, a 36-year-old principal of a school in Brooklyn, New York has died due to complications from the coronavirus.
According to an article in the New York Post, Romain is the first known death of a city public school staffer tied to the pandemic.
Romain, who was originally from Palo Seco, was the Principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy in Brownsville, a transfer school that serves students who have dropped out or fallen behind in credits in traditional high school settings.
Romain was promoted from assistant principal between 2016 and 2017.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement, “This is painful for all of us, and I extend my deepest condolences to the Brooklyn Democracy Academy community, and the family of Principal Romain.”
“We’ll be there for the students and staff through whatever means necessary during this impossibly difficult time, ” he added.
In another article, it started that since March 16, the city’s public schools have been shut down. However, teachers and principals were still asked to report to school three times a week.
Romain’s cousin Brittany Aguilera, in a Facebook post, reminisced how Romain taught her how to draw and remembered how they would sit together in silence and draw for hours.
“I used to sit on the bed with her as she drew these beautiful things and she gave me paper and pencil and pushed me to do the same without any judgement, until I got better and better, and we would sit there for hours in silence just drawing. The last time we were together we were dancing at a wedding and you were making sure my boyfriend, one of your former students, was keeping it a buck lol, ” Aguilera said.
“One day, when I have a kid, I’ll show them how to draw the way you showed me. And I’ll pick back up the paper and pencil again, just for you. You will be missed, and you were loved and respected. Rest easy cuz, ” she added in her post.
Another close friend posted that from Romain’s love of art to being a nurturing educator, she lived by “principles that created opportunities for her students and demonstrated leadership by sharing love, compassion, and encouragement to ensure those ‘at-promise’ were given a second chance to succeed.”
In 2001, Dez-Ann Romain graduated from Far Rockaway High School with honours.
The friend said that in 1998, during their sophomore year at Far Rockaway High School, they were jointly selected for an Art Internship and were featured in a photography exhibition at the Queens Museum by American photographer and educator, Dawoud Bey.