SACO — Saco Middle School re-opened Wednesday for the first day of classes since the death of sixth-grade English language arts teacher Robin Stinson.

Robin Stinson Facebook photo via Journal Tribune

Stinson, 47, of Alfred, died Monday after suffering a medical problem on the Maine Turnpike and driving off the road.

She had worked in Saco schools since 1997, and at Saco Middle School since 1998. Her husband, Timothy, is a principal at Line Elementary School in West Newfield. The couple had two children.

“Robin was an incredible teacher, mentor, and friend to everyone in the Saco Middle School community for over 20 years. She will be missed dearly,” said Superintendent of Schools Dominic DePatsy.

After an email was sent to parents Monday evening, the sad news spread quickly on Facebook. Tuesday classes were canceled at the middle school.

When school reopened on Wednesday, school counselors and grief counselors were on hand to support students.

A memory wall lined one hallway, and students and teachers posted photos and memories of Stinson.

“Mrs. Stinson was not just a teacher, she was a friend,” wrote one student.

“She was always there to help and always had a smile on her face,” wrote another.

Many people, like sixth-grader Rylie Prejean and Thornton Academy junior Stephanie Sanborn, remember Stinson’s “contagious laugh.”

Rylie said Stinson was very supportive of her students and helped many through some tough times.

“Mrs. Stinson knew how to put a smile on anyone’s face. She was super sweet and kind. If you were having a rough day, you could go to her and she could turn your whole day around,” said Stephanie.

Bethany Towne, a student of Stinson’s in 2002, said Stinson’s class helped her become a stronger writer. In addition to language arts skills, Stinson taught discipline and kindness and instilled a good work ethic, Towne said.

Chris Indorf, assistant superintendent with Biddeford Schools, said that Stinson was his son Andy’s teacher in sixth grade.

“As an educator and parent I appreciate that middle school can be a turbulent time for students, especially for those like my son Andy who already struggle finding their place. All kids need math and English and social studies, of course, but more than anything they need caring and loving teachers. And that’s what Robin was to Andy. And to so many others,” Indorf said.

Resources for parents of grieving children include The Center for Grieving Children, which can be reached at 775-5216​ to discuss concerns, receive written information or enroll a child in a grief support group and 777-HELP, a 24-hour hot line parents can call if their child needs immediate assistance.

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