ROSWELL, Ga. – Natalie Richman, the principal of Sweet Apple Elementary School in Roswell, was found dead in her Alpharetta home on May 21.
She had been the principal of the school since 2010, but had been on a leave of absence for the past month, according to officials with the Fulton County School System.
The cause of her death has not been released.
A message from the Parent Teacher Organization at Sweet Apple mourned the loss of Richman through a Facebook posting.
“Our school mourns the heartbreaking and unexpected passing of our beloved principal, Natalie Richman. Our thoughts and prayers are with her precious family and all those who loved her. Her boundless energy, enthusiasm, creativity, passion and love of our children will forever be remembered.”
Dozens of messages posted to the page described a principal who made a difference in the school and their children’s lives.
“What a loss. Natalie was an amazing woman who was the heart and soul of Sweet Apple Elementary,” posted Lora Griffith. “She made a difference in this world – a big difference. I will never forget her smile, sparkle, energy and enthusiasm for SAE, the kids, the staff.”
Her death was announced to parents in a message from interim Principal Cheryl Williams, who said crisis care team members would be in the school the final two days of classes to help students deal with the news.
“We know that every child reacts to the news of death differently, and we will do everything possible to provide support during this difficult time,” wrote Williams.
Prior to coming to Sweet Apple Elementary in 2010, Richman, 47, served as the principal of Murdock Elementary School in Cobb County, and as a teacher in DeKalb County and in her native New York.
Richman’s death impacts the Fulton School System even further, as her sister, Shelby Steinhauer, is also a teacher in the system. Steinhauer was the Fulton Teacher of the Year in 2011 when she taught French at Milton High School, and was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2012.