A special message from Superintendent Brian Dunn on the unexpected passing of a Middleburgh graduate

Middleburgh logoDear Middleburgh families,

During a time of the year when our students should be enjoying moments away from school with their friends and families with minimal concerns or sadness, I’m writing to share news of the unexpected passing of Isabel Skowfoe, one of our Class of 2020 graduates.

Isabel was wonderful and gifted young woman, and was the author of the book “Sabrina Banner: The Soul of a Sorcerer.” In addition to her keen sense for storytelling, she was honored at the beginning of the last school year as Proctors’ 2019 “Cultivating Arts and Students Together” (CAST) Student of the Year, providing outstanding community service assistance to this theatre group and contributing to the success of our region’s professional theatres.

At Middleburgh, Isabel was a part of a plethora of clubs, sports and activities. She was involved with the drama productions in many capacities, from a stagehand to a star on the stage. She was also a member of Middleburgh’s varsity golf team and an enthusiastic member of the Girl Scouts.

Isabel was one of the officers of the Class of 2020 and a member of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. She graduated with honors and was planning to attend SUNY Cobleskill to major in communications, with a minor in English.

We will miss Isabel tremendously. Her contributions to the Middleburgh School District and greater community were always significant and inspiring. Please keep her and her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this terribly difficult time.

Because we’re all on summer break, and away from each other, I’m sharing this news in this way to be responsive to the many inquiries we’ve received while being sensitive and respectful to the Skowfoe family, who are dealing with overwhelming grief.

I understand processing this news may be made more difficult.  Please take some time to talk to your child about this to make sure he or she is okay. We aim to take care of every student, but this is far more difficult when we’re not gathering in school every day and have the ability to have the face-to-face connections and conversations that are so important in normal times and even more so now.

The district is committed to supporting students and staff who would like counseling and bereavement support services. The death of a young person can cause anxiety for everyone, but especially for students. If you feel that your child is struggling with this information, or having any other mental health challenges while our buildings are closed, we encourage you to talk about this and help him or her work through grief or concerns.

Where appropriate, consider monitoring and discussing your child’s communications (social media, phone, e-mails, text messages) to further assess their potential needs.

We encourage anyone who feels a need to talk to someone during this sad time to reach out in the following ways:

Teachers or parents can contact a counselor directly through email.  Counselors can make arrangements to provide support or provide additional resources: 

School Psychologist Mary Beth Pandolfino: mary.pandolfino@middleburghcsd.org
School Counselor Heather Howe: heather.howe@middleburghcsd.org
Student Support Counselor Catherine Murphy: catherine.murphy@middleburghcsd.org

Additionally, a Bassett mental health hotline is available at 1-844-255-7242.  Schoharie County Mental Health Services are also available at 518-295-8336.


Brian P. Dunn