PASCO COUNTY, FL — There’s one family photo that captures Renee Dermott’s effervescent spirit. It’s an unguarded moment during a family fall trip up north as she grabs up a pile of colorful fall leaves and tosses them into the air, laughing as the leaves rain down on her.
Her family said that photo exemplifies her love of life, a quality she brought to her career as a school teacher for nearly 20 years.
“She loved her kids. She loved her husband. She loved her home. She loved teaching,” said Madalyn Ziongas, one of Dermott’s two daughters. She was always the first to arrive at school and the last to leave, said the family now grappling with grief.
The 51-year-old New Port Richey resident had just begun teaching at Seven Springs Middle School last fall — first teaching English language arts and then American history — when the pandemic was