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Warner Elementary principal passes away following motorcycle accident

Warner Elementary School in Wilmington is among the schools that would be managed by the Wilmington Learning Collaborative
Tom Byrne
Delaware Public Media
Warner Elementary School

The principal of Warner Elementary School in Wilmington has died after a tragic motorcycle crash last week.

The Red Clay Consolidated School District announced Terrance Newton’s passing on its website Monday night.

Red Clay superintendent Dorrell Green says the 47 year-old Newton was an inspirational leader who served as Warner’s principal since July 2019.

"Dr. Newton was a true advocate for students and a genuine supporter of his staff. He was an innovative and dynamic school leader that put the whole child first. He developed systems to not only address academics, but he also incorporated broader services that made Warner such a special place for students, staff, families and the community at-large," said Green. "Newt’s high energy, infectious personality and passion for his school community was unparalleled."

Newton was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle westbound on Old Baltimore Pike in Bear last Friday night when Delaware State Police say he tried to pass a vehicle in front of him and collided with a concrete median.

Police say Newton was wearing a helmet, but he was ejected from the bike. He was taken to Christiana Hospital in critical condition with a severe head injury.

Green says Warner will have Red Clay crisis support available for students starting Tuesday for anyone who would like to speak to someone.

Sen. Chris Coons called Newton "a pillar of our community."

"His absence will be felt not just in Red Clay School District, but everywhere across our state where Delawareans young and old sought his counsel and relied on his inspiration and encouragement," said Coons in a statement. "His passing leaves a hole in the fabric of Wilmington that we all must try to fill by following his example of daily service and heartfelt action.”

Gov. John Carney called the death "heart-wrenching."

"Dr. Newton was everything a school leader should be, and more. He was selfless, dedicated, enthusiastic and cared so deeply about his students and staff. That was clear every time you walked in the front doors of Warner Elementary," said Carney in a statement. "I saw his dedication on recent visits to his classrooms. I was inspired by him, and will continue to be, every time I see his students walking
to and from school, just a few blocks from my house."

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester said the state lost someone who had a"remarkable impact."

"Many saw him greeting his students at the front door of Warner Elementary every single day - yet it’s the acts of grace and kindness toward those in the community that were never seen that made all the difference," Blunt Rochester said in a statement. "We’ve lost Dr. Newton far too soon - but we will continue to be blessed by his memory and impact for a lifetime through his students. I’m praying for Dr. Newton’s family, friends, and the entire Warner community. We are grateful for his presence on this planet.”

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.