MORTON - As the new school year begins at Lincoln Elementary- a void is felt by the absence of third-grade teacher Joal Stanfield.
“Joal’s presence is missed right now. Joal’s smile and personality, and we are heartbroken,” said Morton District 709 Superintendent Lindsay Hall.
The words “pray for Mr. Stanfield” are written throughout the school.
Superintendent Lindsay Hall says the staff is saddened and surprised about the news.
“He is respected by his coworkers as an excellent educator. He is loved by all kids in the school who look to him as a wonderful sense of humor and energy.”
Outside the classroom, Stanfield helped build one of the most respected tennis programs in the area. He coached the Morton tennis team to conference championship after conference championship.
It is on these courts that so many players lean on Coach Stanfield for support. Now the community is returning the favor.
“There’s an out powering of support from the PTO, from parents. Um, for our students at school and for our staff at school, but more importantly for the Stanfield family,” said Hall.
The local tennis community is also shocked about what happened to one of their most respected peers.
“He helped anybody and everybody in Morton. On the court and fff the court. At the grocery store. You know at a tournament. He’d be willing to help. You know, so having everybody kind of get behind him shows how good he really was as a person,” said local tennis coach Cy Lystila.
And what made Stanfield such a great coach might be the same thing that makes him an excellent teacher.
“ He was just as much of a friend as a coach as a mentor type of person,” continued Lystila. “I can’t see Morton tennis or just middle Illinois tennis without Joal Stanfield. “
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