The tragic death that occurred over the weekend of Overland High School Principal Aleshia Armour shocked the community at the school as well as others in Aurora and throughout the state, prompting the school to close on Monday.
Armour 42, who died from natural causes, as per The Cherry Creek School District. Her husband, Michael Armour, an assistant football coach at the University of Northern Colorado, and their children.
“Principal Armour was a beacon of love, strength, honor, integrity and passion in the Overland community,” according the school’s Facebook page Monday. “We will be forever grateful for the indelible impact she had on all of us in such a short amount of time.”
According to a biographical sketch Armour provided in the magazine My Black Colorado, she always wanted to become a school principal from the time she was as an undergraduate in the Denver’s George Washington High School:
“I saw the impact a principal’s values could have on a student’s entire perception of education,” she wrote. “A leader who respects the diversity and voices of their students can make an enormous differences in our world. The principal who values students demonstrates the importance of self-education and speaking up for what they believe in, which is a valuable lesson that they will be able to carry throughout their life.”
She said she would describe Overland in the context of “an international high school of nearly 2,400 students.”
“As our country experiences an awakening when it comes to race in America, I wake up each morning, look in the mirror and challenge myself to lead and inspire staff to value cultural diversity.”
to fight discrimination, oppression or ignorance.”
Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Scott Siegfried and the majority of Overland district and teacher officials did not attend interviews on Monday. They described Armour’s death as the result of a “devastating loss.”
“Aleshia leaves behind a legacy of fearless leadership, empathy and a deep commitment to equity and excellence,” according to Siegried’s announcement. “Her commitment to her community was evident in all she did including her work at Overland as well as the schools throughout the district, as well as in her interactions with parents, students teachers , and other administrators.
“We are grateful for Aleshia shining her light and love on this community.”
Colorado Rep. Iman Jodeh was an Overland student in the previous principal, but she was familiar with Armour well. She appreciated the way Armour addressed her students in their own languages as well as “was able to answer the call to what OHS has needed for a long time.”
She was more than an intelligent, young and strong Black woman, but she also was a mentor, friend as well as a wife, mother and teacher,” Jodeh said via email. “She was always available and was able to meet the demands of students. This was evident when she relocated into the Dean’s Office and converted (it) to a meditation/prayer space that could accommodate the mental health issues of all students, as well as the regular prayers for Muslim student.”
Information on memorials or services is in the process of being finalized.