CANAAN — A woman who was struck and killed by an SUV while walking her dog was a “sensitive and creative” educator who worked with children contending with physical or mental health challenges, friends and colleagues said this week.

Diane Shea Photo courtesy of Regional School Unit 18

Diane Shea, 59, an educational technician at Messalonskee Middle School in Oakland, worked with “medically fragile” students and donated many of her own personal resources to educational programs over the years, according to friend and co-worker Heather Kerner.

Shea could also be “tough and firm with students who required strong expectations,” Kerner wrote in a Facebook post.

In the summers Shea worked as a camp director at Lake George Regional Park “where she inspired the children in her own community with day camp activities to enrich their (summertime) experiences,” Kerner said in the post.

An animal lover, Shea owned two dogs and was out walking one of them near her Canaan home Friday night when she was struck. The dog was not hurt.

It appears she was pulled by her dog out into the roadway when she was struck by a Jeep Cherokee, according to Somerset County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Mitchell. The 29-year-old driver of the Cherokee stayed at the scene.


Mitchell said Maine State Police were reconstructing the collision to determine what happened. He does not expect results from that investigation for at least a week.

There was no evidence that alcohol, distracted driving or speed were factors in the crash, he said, and no charges are expected to be filed.

Kerner said the middle school this week will celebrate Shea’s memory and honor her career with students.

Shea worked for Regional School Unit 18 for over 10 years and was most recently working as an educational technician in the life skills and behaviors program, according to RSU 18 Special Education Director Cheryl Mercier.

Shea also worked in the district’s off-site education program for students who could not come to school because of physical or mental health challenges.

“She was incredibly flexible, always the first to volunteer when there was a need,” Mercier said by email Monday.

Messalonskee Middle School Principal Sam Dunbar said Shea was completely student-centered and cared deeply about her students, developing relationships with them and always looking for the best methods to support them.

The school notified staff, students and others over the weekend of Shea’s death.

Additional social support staff and special education staff were on hand this week to “take the burden off of the people that worked most closely with (Shea),” Dunbar said.

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