Palm Coast, FL - The Principal of Flagler-Palm Coast High School James “Tom” Russell has passed away today (December 9) after battling COVID-19 since testing positive on November 16. At that time, he posted about it on the school's Facebook page with some optimism. "So far this is a mild case of COVID-19 if there is such a thing. Allow me to be blunt this is nothing like the flu! Covid wrecks the body in so many ways and never the same way twice."
Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittlestadt says, “The Flagler Schools family sends our prayers to Julie Russell and her children. Tom was a valued member of our district, a person everyone leaned on for advice and counsel. He was quick with a smile and word of encouragement. He had the ability to bring calm to the most hectic moments.”
Flagler County School Board Chairman Trevor Tucker adds, “We were all elated when Tom agreed to come to Flagler County to become FPC’s principal. To have an educator of his stature and experience was invaluable. He truly cared about everyone on that campus. This is a loss, not only for Flagler-Palm Coast High School and Flagler Schools but for all of us in education in the state.”
Before becoming principal at FPCHS, Russell was superintendent of the Volusia County school district for four years, after spending decades as a teacher.
A crisis response team of counselors will be on the Flagler-Palm Coast High School campus to support those dealing with this loss for as long as needed.