Covering Bullock County: Union Springs Principal Dies

Union Springs, AL (WSFA) - The Bullock County school community is shaken over the sudden death of one of its elementary school principals. He died early Thursday morning.

According to the school superintendent, Union Springs Elementary School Principal Willie Mitchell told his wife Thursday morning that he didn't feel well. She called 9-1-1, but on the way to the hospital he died.

The faculty and staff are remembering their beloved principal with black ribbons on the door when you enter the school.  Inside, they were expressing their loss with a banner on one of the bulletin boards in honor of him. His office, however, is just as he left it. It will stay that way, according to the superintendent until his family comes to move his things away.

In the meantime, the teachers say they are just trying to cope. Valerie Turner says, "I was screaming and hollering and I knew it was true. So, I just went on out the backdoor to have a moment to myself. I went in my truck and I cried." Another teacher, Gina Maxwell, said "Mr. Mitchell was this school. Everybody loved him dearly. I've heard a lot of people say 'What are we going to do?' Because he was the parent that kept the family knitted together."

Willie Mitchell had been principal at Union Springs Elementary for four years. During that time he moved the school from needing improvement to making the grade and becoming 100% A.Y.P. His school was also selected for the Alabama Math and Science Technology Initiative.

Mitchell was also the voice for Bullock County High School's football team.  Willie Mitchell's funeral will be held next Thursday at 1:00 o'clock at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery.

This is the school system's second death of a faculty member in a year.