Kimberly Hayes, who taught at Riverside-Brookfield High School for 33 years has passed away on October 1st, 2021. Hayes has died from complications of COVID-19 at the age of 58.
Kimberly was moved from life support at 4:05 p.m., which was 3:05 p.m. Central time, the very moment the final bell rang at RBHS for the week, to honor her dedication to the school. She died 13 minutes later.
Cindy Vitek, the president of the RBHS PTO said, “I can’t even tell you what a wonderful bright light she was to so many of us.”
Hayes is survived by her two sons, Erick and Jack Hayes, and a sister Kathleen Schweitzer.
Hayes was honored on Monday at RBHS with a moment of silence, introduced by one of her closest friends at RBHS, English Department instructional coach Wendy Cassens, during morning announcements.
Joey Vitek who was in Hayes’s freshman honors English class said, “Oh my God she was amazing. She was enthusiastic about teaching and had an extreme enthusiasm for reading books. She was one of the first teachers to make reading fun in school.”
Assistant Superintendent Kristin Smetana also paid her tributes, “Kimberly was a dear friend, colleague, teacher, and mentor to so many over the 33 years at RB and in the community,” Smetana wrote in an email to the Landmark. “Kimberly’s compassion and grace came through in all that she did. She took on many different roles at RB throughout the years, from Rouser sponsor to assistant musical director, to assistant principal. In each role, Kim poured her heart and soul into doing the best job she could for staff and students.”
Mike Reingruber, Hayes former student who is now a staff member at RBHS said, “She was one of the most kind and caring and patient teachers I definitely had in my four years here.
“Students always came first, and you could tell she was really passionate about what she did, which rubbed off on her classes.”
Visitation will be on Oct. 7 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St. in Brookfield. A church service will be held at the Cornerstone Community Church, 9008 Fairview Ave., in Brookfield, at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 8.