Katherine Koonce: A Tribute to the Covenant Leader

Katherine Koonce, the head of The Covenant School in Nashville who died in the mass shooting there on March 27, 2023, was remembered as a “beautiful soul.”

Koonce, 60, was among six shooting victims on March 27, 2023, including three elementary students and two other staff members, according to Nashville police.

The other victims were identified by police on Twitter as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9, along with 61-year-old Cynthia Peak and 61-year-old Mike Hill.

Nashville police named the suspect as Audrey Hale, 28, a former student at the school. Hale was shot and killed by police at the scene, authorities said.

Here’s what you need to know about the Katherine Koonce:

1. Dr. Katherine Koonce ‘Taught Me So Much,’ a Man Wrote in a Tribute

Dean Russ Crowe paid tribune to Koonce on Facebook.

“This beautiful soul, Katherine Koonce, taught me so much-two things I think about very often,” he wrote.

“She was the headmaster of the school in Nashville and one of the adults that was murdered. Today is such a tragedy. I know her entrance into heaven was abundant. But here we on earth we are devastated. Please pray for her husband and family. And for all the families who thought today was just another Monday and counting down to Spring Break. It’s just horrible.”

2. Katherine Koonce Wrote on Facebook That She Was the Former Academic Dean at Christ Presbyterian Academy

On Facebook, Koonce wrote that she was “Head of School at The Covenant School” and “Former Academic Dean at Christ Presbyterian Academy.”

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Koonce “studied Leadership and Professional Studies at Trevecca Nazarene University, studied “Masters Education at Georgia State University,” and studied at LSU and Vanderbilt University.

She was from Brentwood, Tennessee, and lived in Brentwood, Tennessee, her Facebook page says.

3. Katherine Koonce Recently Celebrated Her Daughter’s Engagement

Koonce’s top public post on Facebook was about her daughter’s engagement.

“My recently engaged daughter, Anna Koonce, and I capped off our summer with a wonderful mother-daughter trip to Skyterra Wellness Retreat in North Carolina,” she wrote in July 2022.

“it was an amazing week of outdoor activity, pickleball, hiking, exercise, healthy gourmet meals, spa treatments, and wonderful time together. I hope this becomes an annual event!”

She also filled her page with pictures showing her on vacations with her family.

4. Katherine Koonce Wrote That Convenant School Participated in the ‘Miracle’ of Students’ Development

The school’s website quotes Katherine Koonce, who was killed in the shooting, as saying, “At the Covenant School, we are about more than simply educating our students — we are participating in the miracle of their development and seeing them transform into who they will be.”

Koonce’s statement continued: “Impactful teaching methods and programs, daily all-school chapel, and school-wide service-learning are the backdrop for the real work — helping children become who God intends them to be.”

Koonce wrote, “As we capture our children’s attention and their minds for learning, we also want to capture their hearts in relationships that challenge their thinking and help them learn critical skills. Our graduates attend the finest schools in the Nashville area, where they not only excel academically, but also act with character that comes from authentic faith in Jesus.”

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The school’s motto is, “Shepherding Hearts, Empowering Minds, Celebrating Childhood.”

5. The Shooter Entered the School Through a Side Door, Police Say

Nashville PDNashville police.

Nashville Police Chief John Drake said in a news conference that Hale, a former student at the school who lived in the Nashville area, and entered the school through a side door.

According to its website, The Covenant School is a private Presybyterian Christian school for students from preschool to sixth grade.

Two officers confronted Hale on the second floor of the school, Nashville police tweeted. Police said in a news conference that Hale had detailed maps of the school and a manifesto. The motive is not yet clear.

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