Spann Elementary remembers and pays tribute to beloved teacher

Usually the school year is an exciting and happy time for both students and staff, but the end of this school year came with heartbreaking sadness and tears for Spann Elementary in Summerville, after the passing of a beloved teacher.

Fifth grade teacher Latasha Steed died last week, after a long battle with cancer,  just days before the last day of school.  One by one, the teachers of Spann Elementary called out the word that comes to mind when they think of LaTasha Steed.  Courageous, good, calm, faithful, warm, hug, diva, strength, confidence, all words used to describe Tasha.   One teacher says, “It was almost like every time you saw her it was like a big hug for yourself, she was such a giving person.”

Hearing members of the Spann family recall memories of Tasha, it becomes clear why she was loved by so many here. Another teacher says, “Tasha always held herself in such a dignified manner. She never complained about her illness. She never said why me, she just exuded that perspective to everyone.”  Another with tears in her eyes says, “She had a contagious enthusiasm for everything, for learning, it was reflected in her students.”

Teacher Lynn Benson calls Tasha her sister, “Tasha was Spann, she’s still here,” says Benson. “As we were leaving the funeral, a lot of her students were crying and the teachers, we all grabbed them and said, you heard the preacher, he said you’re the seeds, now you go and sprout. We’re all her seeds. It’s going to be our job top keep her legacy alive,”  Benson says.

During her illness, the school wore “Team Tasha” bracelets in support of their Spann family member, who won Rookie Teacher of the Year her first year teaching.  Principal Shane Sanford says Tasha left a lasting impact on Spann and its students. “They called her Mama Steed.  She was a mother to them.  She just cared for her students. Even when she was in pain in her final year of teaching, she taught all the way up to spring break,  just a few short months ago. She came to school because she wanted to be with her kids,” says Sanford, “She could have stayed at home, take care of her own needs, but that wasn’t Tasha.  She was always thinking about others, especially her students.”

Even in death, the educator and mother of two sons, continues to teach a lesson in healing.  “We decided to plant a tree in her memory at Spann,” says principal Sanford.  “We chose the most vibrant beautiful tree. It’s going to grow gorgeous in the fall, a red Japanese maple, looks very Tasha.  Her students painted stones, very colorful stones and placed at the base of tree. Every student in the fifth grade placed a stone in remembrance of Tasha.” Benson says, “Every time we pass this tree, (blows kiss) Tasha.”

A sunflower in the school’s garden now has special meaning. “The day that we got the news she passed away, as we were coming in that day, this beautiful sunflower just bloomed,” says Benson, “That was the first time it bloomed.  We know that was Tasha.  We truly feel that was Tasha, because she was worried about us. She wanted to let us know she is ok, and she’s as beautiful as ever, and smiling. Her presence is still here everywhere. It will always be here.”

LaTasha Steed began her career at Spann as a student teacher.  She taught at the school for five years.  Tasha was 38-years-old.

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