Editor's Note: This story has been updated.
SOMERS, N.Y. – Sherri Mangus, a special education teacher at Somers Intermediate School, died Monday from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, the school district announced.
According the New York State Police, Mangus, 56, was riding in a Can-Am three-wheeled motorcycle with her husband, Peter, around noon westbound on Bay Drive. Her husband, who was operating the motorcycle, was attempting to merge onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway when he lost control, police said.
The motorcycle crossed over the median and Mangus, the passenger, was thrown from motorcycle, police said. Mangus, a Levittown resident, lost her helmet during the collision and was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where she died as a result of extensive head trauma. Her husband was uninjured.
Mangus had been with the district for nine years and had worked at Primrose Elementary School, Somers Middle School and Somers Intermediate School.
In 2013, she was honored by the Somers Special Education PTA (SEPTA) with the organization's Award of Merit.
School psychologist Regina Kaishian said about Mangus at the time: “When I first saw the SEPTA announcement to nominate a special education teacher or service provider, I immediately thought of Sherri. She truly cares about each and every one of her students and I do believe she sees them as her own ‘kids.’ Because of this, she invests an inordinate amount of time and thought on how to get them to reach their own potential.”
According to Mangus' LinkedIn page, she previously worked at the Rebecca School and the Holy Family School in New York City. She earned a master's degree in childhood education and teaching students with disabilities from Adelphi University.
Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch announced Mangus' death to the school community 6:30 p.m. Monday. (The full letter is below.)
“Death can be difficult for us to understand, especially when it is sudden,” Blanch wrote in an email. “All of us will be feeling a variety of emotions: shock, sadness, or confusion. What is most important is that we care for and support each other.”
Blanch said the schools would be providing support for students in this tragic time.
Condolences poured in for the beloved teacher on The Somers Record Facebook page shortly after her death was announced.
“Sherri, you touched many lives being a wonderful teacher and colleague,” wrote Denise Fama Pallman. “My thoughts and prayers are with your family. You will be missed.”
Matthew Shaw Heyert said he worked with Mangus as a tutor for one of her math students.
“She was kind, caring and nice towards me and I'm sure towards everyone she met,” he said.
Lori Hutter said it is “a tragic loss for the children, the community, and her family. She was a very special person with a very big heart.”
Dear Somers Families:
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Sherri Mangus, Special Education teacher at Somers Intermediate School, has died. Sherri and her husband were riding on their motorcycle on April 23rd when they were in an accident and she was thrown from the motorcycle. Sherri was transported to a hospital on Long Island where they were not able to treat her extensive head trauma. Sherri has been in the District for 9 years and she has worked at PES, SIS, and SMS.
Death can be difficult for us to understand, especially when it is sudden. All of us will be feeling a variety of emotions: shock, sadness, or confusion. What is most important is that we care for and support each other.
The Crisis Response Team has made plans to respond to the emotional needs of the students. The school is prepared to support the needs of students through grief counseling, classroom discussion and support services provided by our school counselors and psychologists.
If your family has experienced a death or similar loss recently, the death of Mrs. Mangus may bring up feelings about that loss. This is a normal experience. Please let your child’s teacher or counselor know if there is any additional information the school should be aware of so we can provide the support your child needs.
Any time death touches us, it is stressful. This sudden death may be upsetting to you as well as to your child, and we especially want you to know of our care and support.
Dr. Raymond H. Blanch
Superintendent of Schools