LEWISTON — The McMahon Elementary School community is mourning the death of teacher Christine Savignano.

Savignano died at home, Superintendent Bill Webster said Thursday. No other information was available.

“It was a pretty tough morning at McMahon,” Webster said. “We had counselors at the school and sufficient staff to help not only the students, but the staff, cope.”

Fifth- and sixth-grade parents were notified of her death directly; some students left school Thursday to deal with the tragedy, Webster said.

Webster described Savignano as a dedicated teacher who was loved by all.

“She’s been a committed educator. She came to school prepared, wanting the best for her students,” Webster said. “She was very well-respected by staff and her students.” She will be missed, he said.

Savignano was a veteran teacher at McMahon, starting in that position in 1994.

On his Lewiston Superintendent Facebook page, Webster quoted Savignano’s husband, Phil, who said his wife looked forward to the challenges of helping her students grow every day, that she dedicated hours of preparation to keep students engaged. She considered the McMahon staff as family, her husband said.

In 2013, the Sun Journal published a story about how Savignano’s students learned the game of cribbage with Lewiston seniors.

Savignano created the program to sharpen her students’ math skills and allow them to get to know senior citizens in their community.

Savignano said in that story that she played cribbage but was nowhere near as good as the seniors. Playing cribbage helps reinforce computation fluency, she said in 2013. “They had to strategize, know what cards to discard, use reasoning skills, anticipate their opponent’s move.”

Lewiston Senior Citizen President Roger Labbe, a retired teacher at the Lewiston Middle School, recruited other seniors to teach the game. Fridays became cribbage day at McMahon.

Savignano said she was pleased with how the lessons went and called seniors a valuable resource. “I was very impressed with their patience, their level of skill.”

Webster said Thursday that her family will announce the date and location of funeral services.

The McMahon Elementary School community on Thursday grieved the death of fifth grade teacher Christine Savignano, who died at home, Superintendent Bill Webster said. “She was loved,” he said.

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