PECOS -- Crockett Middle School in Pecos is mourning the loss of its principal Monte Howell following a fatal car accident Wednesday night.
Crockett Middle School Principal Monte Howell. (Photo: Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD)
The tragic news comes just a week after the funerals of Jonathan Aguilar and Ethan Medina, two Pecos high school football players also killed in a crash.
This was Howell’s first year as principal at Crockett Middle School. Colleagues described her as a rising star, having quickly worked her way up from assistant principal.
"Everyone who talked to her, you couldn't help but see how much charisma she had in wanting to see our children succeed," PBTISD Superintendent Jose Cervantes said.
Co-workers said Howell’s dedication to her students never wavered.
"Even last night before she went home, she went to go comfort one of her students," Cervantes said. "His dad had passed away, so she was out there comforting her student at about seven o'clock."
It is believed Howell was on her way home from that visit when DPS says her car left the roadway, and after overcorrecting, the vehicle rolled. Howell was pronounced dead at the scene.
"I let all our faculty know," Cervantes said "Those are the hardest calls a superintendent can ever make."
The 47-year-old Howell leaves behind a husband and four children, as well as her family at Crockett.
"Our hearts are just going to be broken for awhile," math teacher Lucy Lara said with tears in her eyes. "Because she's going to leave a big hole in our district and our school. She will be sorely missed."
Counselors and religious leaders were made available for students and staff, and will be at the school into next week.
Although Howell is gone, her impact will be felt forever.
"One of the things about her was her announcements," Cervantes said. "She would finish them everyday by saying 'And remember, Mrs. Howell always loves you.'"