Beloved Wilmington principal Dr. Terrance Newton dies after motorcycle crash, superintendent says

Students and staff members across Delaware are in mourning after the principal of Warner Elementary School in Wilmington died.  

According to the Red Clay School District Superintendent, Dr. Terrance "Newt" Newton was involved in a motorcycle crash on Friday. 

Police say Newton was riding on the Old Baltimore Pike west of 273 around 10:45 p.m. when he attempted to pass a vehicle but struck a median. 

He was taken to Christiana Hospital in critical condition and he died Monday, according to officials. 

Newton was loved for the unique ways he would bond and connect with his students. 

At Warner Elementary, he turned a supply closet into a space where he would give students haircuts and learn about them. 

Newton was also passionate about understanding the challenges his students faced as crime continued to impact Wilmington. 

"Every kid I see that comes in this building, I see myself. My mother raised six kids as a single parent and it was kind of tough for her," he told FOX 29 in January 2020.  "My brother was murdered in the city of Wilmington about a year and a half ago. My revenge is to help my babies. I want to change them. I want to stop all the crime in the City of Wilmington. I want to stop the shootings I want to show these kids the different ways to be productive than crime." 



A letter to the Red Clay Community announcing Newton's death read: 

It is with great sadness that I must share Dr. Terrance Newton passed away this evening after injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident on Friday, March 18th.

Dr. Newton, or "Newt" as many knew him, was an inspirational leader who served as the Principal of Warner Elementary, starting in July 2019.  Prior to joining the Warner Thunderbirds, he was the Assistant Principal of HB DuPont Middle School.  Dr. Newton was a true advocate for students and a genuine supporter of his staff.  He was an innovative and dynamic school leader that put the whole child first.  He developed systems to not only address academics, but he also incorporated broader services that made Warner such a special place for students, staff, families and the community at-large.  Newt’s high energy, infectious personality and passion for his school community was unparalleled.  

As a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Delaware State University alumni, and native of Wilmington, Dr. Newton was a pillar of the community and closely collaborated with many organizations to support his students and their families.  His passion for student success will have a lasting impact on Warner and the greater Red Clay community.

Warner will continue to have Red Clay crisis support available for students that would like to speak to someone. Students can reach out to their teachers or school counselors to access these supports.

We send our deepest condolences to the Newton family at this difficult time.  Newt was so much more than an educator and embodied the strength that our children deserve.  As a colleague and friend, his legacy will be carried on as we continue building on the foundation that he laid.

Delaware Governor John Carney reacted to the news, saying, "This is such a heart-wrenching loss for our community. Dr. Newton was everything a school leader should be, and more.  He was selfless, dedicated, enthusiastic and cared so deeply about his students and staff. That was clear every time you walked in the front doors of Warner Elementary. I saw his dedication on recent visits to his classrooms. I was inspired by him, and will continue to be, every time I see his students walking to and from school, just a few blocks from my house."

Tributes to Newton quickly began surfacing online with many reflecting on his achievements and leadership skills. 

After learning of Newton's passing, the Wilmington Fire Department went to Warner Elementary School to greet students with high fives, handshakes and hugs the way Newton did daily. 

Details about services for the elementary school principal have not yet been released. 



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