A Georgia community is mourning the loss of a Fulton County principal who died while vacationing in Puerto Rico.
Westlake High School principal Jamar Robinson and his wife, AnnMari Robinson, drowned while swimming in the ocean behind their hotel early Sunday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing local media outlets.
A Puerto Rican outlet reports the couple was on the beach behind the La Concha Resort in San Juan when “a whirlpool and currents of water allegedly drag(ged) the woman, and her partner (came) to her aid — both dying in the incident.”
Locals in the area tried rescuing the couple but it was too late, according to the news site. Life-saving efforts by paramedics were also unsuccessful.
“Mr. Robinson was an inspirational leader who brought joy with his passion for education and his students,” Fulton County Schools said in a statement obtained by McClatchy News. “We join the community in remembering him and expressing our condolences to his family. School leadership and support staff are at the school to support students, teachers and staff. This support is also being provided remotely to students.”
News of the couple’s passing began circulating online Tuesday, and, in an email to students, Westlake administrators announced a switch to online learning “due to the tragic death of a staff member,” according to CBS46. Robinson was not named in the memo.
Condolences poured in as the community received confirmation that Robinson and his wife had died.
“I’m at a complete lost [sic] of words this morning, upon hearing of the passing of Westlake High School Principal Jamar Robinson and his wife this past weekend,” State Rep. William Boddie, D-Georgia, wrote on Facebook. “Principal Robinson was a Good Man and a Great Educator. Westlake High School continuously had high academic performance scores year after year. I will keep the entire Robinson and Westlake High School Families in my Prayers and Thoughts.”
Westlake assistant football coach Matthew Van Dusen lauded Robinson as an “amazing and passionate leader who loved Westlake and would do anything for its teachers and students.”
“Heartbroken by the news of Mr.Robinson,” a Westlake alum wrote on Twitter, adding: “That man showed Class of 2017 so much love!!! May him and his wife souls Rest In Peace.”
Robinson graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School in DeKalb County before earning his bachelors in psychology from Florida A&M University, according to his bio on the Fulton County schools website. He would go on to earn advanced degrees from Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University.
The former teacher was known for showing love to his students and honoring Westlake’s 2020 graduates with an electronic billboard display on the highway earlier this year.
AnnMari Robinson was also an educator, serving as an assistant professor at Georgia State University.