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Delaware celebrates the life of late Warner Elementary School principal

City of Wilmington- Office of the Mayor
City of Wilmington, DE
Dr. Terrance Newton sits with Mayor Mike Purzycki

Wilmington’s Chase Center was filled today to say good-bye to Warner Elementary School principal Terrance Newton.

Newton, affectionately known as “Newt,” died March 21st from injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident days earlier.

The 47-year-old Wilmington native was remembered as a father, brother, mentor, and educator who made an impact in his community during the roughly 3 hour service.

Sen Chris Coons was among those who reflected on Newton’s legacy.

“A teacher who knew that teaching doesn’t begin and end with 2 bells. You meet the child where they are,” said Coons. “They need clean clothes, they need a good haircut, they need food, they need attention, they need time, they need that hug in the hallway. That’s a teacher. That’s a leader. That’s a principal. That’s someone we honor today. That’s Newt!”

During the service, Latasha Kizzey Newton, Newton’s sister, asked Warner Elementary students to join her at the podium to teach the crowd Newton’s song.

“His name is Newt, his name is Newt, I didn’t wanna tell you but his name is Newt. His name is Newt, his name is Newt, I didn’t wanna tell you but his name is Newt.”

About 15 children joined Ms. Newton onstage, emphasizing the point that Red Clay School District superintendent Dorrell Green made earlier in the service.

“And so Newt served us hope. Because he was certified, and he was qualified,” said Green. “But his past, his upbringing, who he was and what he represented credentialed him to be the principal of Warner.”
Aside from being a cherished principal, Newton was a member of several organizations across the state, many of which were represented at his memorial service.

The city of Wilmington is renaming the street outside Warner Elementary after Newton, and the library there will be named the Dr. Terrance Newton Library Center.

And during the service - Gov John Carney posthumously awarded Newton the Order of the First State- the highest honor the governor can bestow- to recognize his influence on the people of Delaware.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021