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Derby Middle School Mourns Beloved Sixth-Grade Teacher

The funeral for Renee Flennoy is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield; Derby will let out early Friday to allow students and staff to attend.

Renee Flennoy, a sixth-grade language arts, reading and social studies teacher at  in Birmingham, died Sunday after a long battle with health issues.

Flennoy, 54, had been on medical leave from Derby since October. The Novi resident leaves behind her husband, Grant, and her two college-age children, Grant Jr. and Khristen.

Flennoy's funeral is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway in Southfield, with visitation beginning at 11:30 a.m.

To allow students and staff to attend the funeral, Derby will have a half-day of school Friday, Derby Principal Debbie Hubbell announced Tuesday.

Since Flennoy went on medical leave, the middle school has held several fundraisers for her, including Flying Pies for Flennoy in September, the December at the Somerset Collection's Lilly Pulitzer and on Jan. 7 at Troy Gymnastics Center.

In a message to students Monday morning, Hubbell noted the support extended toward Flennoy from the entire Derby community.

“Our entire school has been united in these caring actions and so many more,” she said. “The next few hours and days will be sad ones for all of us.”

Flennoy had been with the district for 17 years. She joined the district in 1995 after spending 15 years as a second- through fifth-grade teacher in the Detroit Public Schools system.

During her time at Derby, Flennoy served on the district's language arts curriculum committee, the district's cultural diversity committee as well as Derby's school improvement plan committeee.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Birmingham Board of Education, trustees passed a resolution honoring Flennoy and her service to the district.

"I've had the privilege of knowing Mrs. Flennoy," school board President Susan Hill said. "She was truly a lovely, lovely woman. She will be missed."

Extra guidance counselors will be available for students at Derby, and throughout the district, all week. The school will also provide a safe room for students who may be upset.

This is the second death of a Derby teacher due to illness in the past nine months. In June, of complications from stomach cancer.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent David Larson recognized Hubbell's leadership and the strength of the Derby community, given what they've gone through in the past year.

"It's been a challenging year at Derby with Redi Abazi passing away," Larson said. "They've really grown and endured a challenging year. Please consider them in our thoughts and prayers."

Dismissal for Derby students will be at 11:20 a.m. Friday. Limited supervision will be available for parents who register until normal dismissal time, 3:08 p.m.

Nancy Perkins February 08, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Condolences to the family and Derby Middle School.
Ellen Patton-Gasiorowski February 08, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Mrs. Flennoy was a lovely person and a kind and dedicated teacher. My daughter Allie adored her. Our condolences to the Flennoy family and her Derby family.
Inka February 08, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I had Mrs. Flennoy in 6th Grade. I'm now a Junior in college and I can clearly remember what an amazing teacher she was. Through her kindness she showed how much she cared about each of her students. What a terrible loss for Derby and the Birmingham community this is. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. I hope they take comfort in knowing how beloved she was, as she touched the lives of so many people. She was truly a special person.
Susie February 08, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I had Mrs.Flennoy for school nearly ten years ago, and to this days she is one of the most extraordinary teachers I have ever had. She had so much passion and a great sense of humor. The world was so lucky to have someone like her in it. She will forever remain in the hearts of all the people she positively impacted.
ClassAct4 February 08, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Both of our sons had Mrs. Flennoy. Renee carried herself with class and dignity, and set an excellent example for her students. She did not let her illness come between her and her students. Renee encouraged her "budding" authors to become published in scholastic journals. It is not an easy job being a middle school teacher. Renee's love for teaching shined through; her impact and example will be missed by all.
N February 08, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I had Mrs. Flennoy nearly 15 years ago.... She had such a positive impact on my life and unknowingly is one of the reasons why I became a teacher, too. She will be remembered and missed by all.
Catherine February 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM
She was my teacher last year (in 7th grade!) She was the best teacher like ever! R.I.P Mrs. Flennoy :(
Nina February 13, 2012 at 12:54 AM
She was my teacher last year and I have to say I was always excited to go to her class. I loved her she was a really fun teacher.
g September 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
miss you mrs flennoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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