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‘She was dedicated to her students’: St. Johns County school mourns teacher who died of COVID

Korey Harrington and an extended day staffer at Pine Island Academy died this week

Pine Island Academy, which opened this year in Nocatee, has been shaken by the deaths of two employees, including a teacher who died of COVID-19. Korey Harrington, 47, was a special education teacher at Pine Island Academy but was only able to work a few days this school year before coming down with COVID-19.
Pine Island Academy, which opened this year in Nocatee, has been shaken by the deaths of two employees, including a teacher who died of COVID-19. Korey Harrington, 47, was a special education teacher at Pine Island Academy but was only able to work a few days this school year before coming down with COVID-19.

NOCATEE, Fla. – Pine Island Academy, which opened this year in Nocatee, has been shaken by the deaths of two employees, including a teacher who died of COVID-19.

Korey Harrington, 47, was a special education teacher at Pine Island Academy but was only able to work a few days this school year before coming down with COVID-19.

She died Tuesday evening surrounded by family, including her mother, Katherine Harrington.

“I’m very proud of her. I really am. She’s just a wonderful person and a dedicated teacher, and she has always been,” said Katherine Harrington.

Katherine Harrington said her daughter was the kind of teacher who would show up early and stay late — someone who would go the extra mile to help just a single student.

“She was dedicated to her students, making sure they succeeded in every way they could. She would work with them after hours, she would work with them during school. She was valuable to them, and I can honestly say that many of them thank her for where they are now,” Katherine Harrington said.

The school’s principal sent out a message to families on Wednesday, saying, in part: “There wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind about Ms. Harrington’s commitment to her students and work. Her passion and relentless focus to support her students will be greatly missed.”

Korey Harrington had long suffered medical problems, including two organ transplants. Her mother confirmed to News4Jax that the 47-year-old was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Katherine Harrington said her daughter won’t be forgotten.

“She never let anything stand in her way. Nothing,” Katherine Harrington said. “She will be missed. I do know that she’ll be missed by the school system. She will be missed by co-workers. She’ll be missed by the students.”

Because Korey Harrington taught at Nease High School last year, the St. Johns County District said that crisis teams will be at both schools to help students and faculty.

The school district also confirmed that an extended day staffer at Pine Island Academy also died this week but did not confirm the cause of death.


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Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.