Kennewick District and Ridgeview Elementary officials are reeling from the news that one of their own died unexpectedly Monday, August 26th.

Nicole Winans, a 38-year-old mother to a young daughter and second grade teacher, passed away the day before school began.

According to information released by school officials, she was rushed to Trios Southridge ER after having what was said to be a 'medical emergency' at the school Monday afternoon. Despite the looming strike, teachers and workers were still setting up classrooms and doing preparations in case a contract was reached  in time.

Officials did not release any other information about Winan's condition prior to the incident. School officials said she was a mother to a young baby, and all Ridgeview staff have been exempt from any rallies or other strike related gatherings. Sources say officials have told all Ridgeview workers to take as much time as they need to cope with this tragic loss of this popular teacher.

Benton County Coroner Bill Leach says an autopsy will be conducted Thursday morning.

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