Twenty-Something Teacher Collapses and Dies

It is not only about protecting the hearts of students.  We also need to protect the hearts of young teachers.  Sudden cardiac arrest isn’t just a grown-up thing.

A math teacher at East Central High School died Monday morning after collapsing before classes started, officials said.

Melinda Villegas, 23, a full-time math teacher for all grades at the high school, was with colleagues, who “immediately started assisting her and went to get our school nurse’s assistant to administer CPR,” said Stevie Gonzales, an East Central Independent School District spokeswoman.

“EMS continued the CPR in transporting her to Mission Trail Baptist Hospital,” where she was pronounced dead around 8 a.m., Gonzales said.  Officials have not determined a cause of death. Administrators were not aware of any medical conditions, Gonzales said. An autopsy is pending at the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office.  A University of Texas at San Antonio graduate, Villegas taught at North Side Independent School District last year and was one of the first to be recommended for a teaching position at East Central High this school year, Gonzales said.

“There’s a lot of competition every time districts have a position available, and she stood out in her interviews as very enthusiastic and knowledgeable in the subject,” Gonzales said.  The school will provide counseling for students and staff members who knew the young teacher.  “Our superintendent said she was well regarded by her colleagues and the campus and was doing a great job with her class,” Gonzales said.

By Jessica Kwong