By Joyce Coronel
Parents, students, teachers and Kyrene officials are mourning the sudden passing of Janet Tobias, principal of Kyrene de la Paloma Elementary School. Tobias died unexpectedly Aug. 31. She had served in the Kyrene school district for 20 years, including 10 years as Paloma’s principal. She is survived by her 21 year old son.
In a message to Kyrene staff, Superintendent Jan Vesely wrote that the loss of Tobias would be “profoundly felt … Janet was a devoted educator with a vibrant soul. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to her family.”
Additional counselors will be on hand at Paloma this week to help students and staff alike process the grief and shock at the loss of Tobias. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, September 7, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N Arizona Ave, Chandler.
During her tenure at Paloma, Tobias was a leading advocate for the establishment of Harmony Park, an outdoor playground to provide children with a learning environment in which they could explore making sounds — music, really — with free-standing sculptures shaped with the look and capability of selected musical instruments. The vision came to life this year with the opening of park on Paloma’s campus. Pending Kyrene Governing Board approval, the park will be named “Janet Tobias Harmony Park.”
Tobias planned to expand the park with more instruments and a shade structure, and the Paloma PTA intends to see that dream through. Those wishing to contribute to the effort can make a donation to the PTA at the following link: www.tinyurl.com/janettobias.