The Pine River-Backus School District Monday mourned the loss of one of its teachers, Jackie Lynn Kolstad.
Kolstad, 32, died Saturday on her father-in-law's property near Long Prairie after the four-wheeler she was driving struck a rut on a field road and overturned.
"This is just a very unfortunate situation," Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson said.
Kolstad, who was married with two children, had worked as a special education teacher at Pine River-Backus High School since 1997, said Superintendent Cathy Bettino.
Students and teachers at Pine River-Backus High School on Monday mourned the loss of 32-year-old Jackie Kolstad, who died Saturday in an all-terrain vehicle accident near Long Prairie.
Bettino said Kolstad was a leader, never afraid to take on additional responsibilities to help the school district move forward. She also coached volleyball and was president of Pine River-Backus Education Minnesota.
"Jackie was just a wonderful part of the Pine River-Backus family," Bettino said. "She was a wonderful teacher, colleague and a real advocate for students and teachers. We will miss her very much."
Kolstad was born July 18, 1975, in Long Prairie and graduated from high school there in 1993. She graduated from the University of Buena Vista in Storm Lake, Iowa, in 1997 and taught in Melrose for a year before moving to Pine River-Backus.
She is survived by her husband, Bradley, and children, Jordan and Dacotah.
Bettino said there will be no school on Wednesday to allow staffers to attend Kolstad's funeral in Long Prairie. Bettino said the parents of Kolstad's students were informed of her death Sunday and counselors and ministers were available for staff and students Monday.
"It is somber here, but there's a lot of comfort here and we hope Jackie's family feels that too as they go through these tough days," Bettino said.
In order to maintain the student contact days needed, a staff in-service day scheduled for April 7 will be a regular school day, Bettino said in a letter to parents and students.
"We are a community family here at Pine River-Backus and in order to honor both our teachers and students' need to grieve and support the Kolstad family, we need to close school on Wednesday," Bettino said in the letter. "I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause your family, but hope you understand the need for us to come together as a family and show respect to those we cherish."
Kolstad's visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Tuesday at Stein-Dingmann Funeral Home in Long Prairie with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Her funeral service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Long Prairie with interment at Hope Lutheran Cemetery in Eagle Bend.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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