Return to Headlines

A Teacher’s Impact, A Life Remembered

Kathy LaDuke, a retired teacher who passed away

A Teacher’s Impact, A Life Remembered

ROXBURY, NJ (January 15, 2021) – Last week, Roxbury Schools was notified of the passing of retired Jefferson Elementary School Teacher Kathryn “Kathy” LaDuke. Kathy taught elementary students for 17 years at Jefferson School before retiring in 2015. Kathy lost her battle with COVID-19 but she will not be forgotten. 

If a good teacher can inspire hope, imagination, and a love of learning, consider for a moment what a great one can do! Kathy LaDuke wasn’t just a truly great teacher whose impact remains on staff and students alike. 

Members of the Jefferson faculty reflected and shared memories to honor Kathy’s passing. 

Principal Melissa Cosgrove recalled how Kathy was a keeper of treasure. Her classroom was filled to the brim. “Her room was usually a fun-filled disaster and she would stay late to organize (even writing little reminders on her fingers). The organization never came but it was one of the things everyone loved about her. “We love you Kathy and our thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time. 

Paraprofessional Carla Dexter added, “It’s impossible to choose one memory of Kathy but her humor, kindness, and generosity will not be forgotten.” 

Elementary teacher Barbara Derrick had the good luck to have been hired the same year as Kathy. Barbara’s daughters attended Jefferson School and Kathy enjoyed their beautiful smiles. Kathy was in the habit of using cute names for people and Barbara and her girls quickly became the smiley family. “If I would have a bad day here at Jefferson, Kathy would always call me “smiley” and it always served to cheer me up. She always made everyone happy and she was the kind of one in a million teacher we all aspire to be.” 

First-grade teacher Christina Green remembers Kathy’s advice when she was a new teacher, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, this too shall pass, and my favorite, “It is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” Christine added, “Say hello to Scott Huguenin and Karen Lunardoni for us.” Two very special staff members here at Jefferson who passed in recent years. 

Kindergarten teacher Kelly Lamont added, “Kathy was an incredible person! We greeted each other with, “Hi KL!” and “Hi KL!” She gave me her classroom when she moved to fourth grade and I to second. I inherited many of the “treasures” others spoke about. She was loved and will definitely be missed.

So many have added so many recollections of Kathy. She was a part of the fabric of our school and her wit, kindness, and compassion will always be remembered. 

PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Jefferson School)


For more information, contact: Roxbury Community School/Community Relations Coordinator Ann Rhodes at or 973-584-7699. 


Roxbury Public Schools is a K-12 school district preparing the children of today for tomorrow. As a dynamic and thriving district, in partnership with a supportive and collaborative community, Roxbury Public Schools inspires and empowers all learners to flourish as ethical and global citizens in the 21st century. The district serves students throughout Roxbury Township, New Jersey, including the areas of Landing, Kenvil, Succasunna, Ledgewood, Mount Arlington, Port Morris, Flanders, and Wharton. Connect with us online at or on Facebook.