School community remembers teacher killed in car crash

Ms. Payne was a 1st grade teacher at Battlefield Primary School. She was also certified to teach special needs students. Image: Deana Pickett

"She was an excellent teacher."

One of many ways the community around Battlefield Primary School will remember Kimberly Payne, or "Ms. Payne" as she was commonly know. She was a first grade teacher, certified to teach students with special needs, but principal Geoffrey Rhodes, could've hired her for any job.

Payne died after Chattanooga Police say she crashed her Jeep Wrangler on UTC's campus Friday night.

"Theres an empty space," Rhodes said. "That's what we feel right now."

According to the Catoosa County school system, Ms. Payne co-taught two different first-grade classes this year. Erin Crane's daughter was in her class last year. She used to get a taste of what Ms. Payne was known for.

"In the morning, when we're coming through the car rider line," said Cane. "Ms. Payne would make it a fun experience. She would dance with them [the students] on the sidewalk.

It seems Kimberly Payne took enough steps to impact the children of the Catoosa County community forever.

"Ms. Payne was really good at seeing a child that needed to be loved, and that may not have had an advocate, and she brought out the best in that child," Cane said.

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