Co-workers respond to loss of dance coach and counselor - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Co-workers respond to loss of dance coach and counselor

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Michelle Cotter. Source: Michelle Cotter. Source:

Steven Cotter is an assistant soccer coach at Henderson High School.

Michelle Cotter was an assistant dance coach there also. She was also a counselor at College View Middle School in Daviess County.

"Good hearted. Very, very good hearted person and loving person," said Mike Flaherty, who is the Student Assistance Coordinator at Daviess County Schools.

Those who knew Michelle Lewis Cotter say she was loved and respected by students and staff at both Henderson County High School and College View Middle School.

"She's bubbly, outgoing, persistent. Demanded excellence," said Assistant Superintendent of Henderson County Schools.

"Had a great way with children. Touched a lot of people, so yeah it's very difficult for all of us," said Flaherty.

Flaherty worked with Michelle at College View and considered her a friend.

On Tuesday, he led the crisis response team at the middle school.

"I think everyone's still in a state of shock. So it's not really settled in as far as what the loss means," said Flaherty. "She was a respected member of the staff. Someone that meant a lot to a lot of people. So, especially saw that today and the staff did what they needed to do to take care of the kids, but you could tell that they were hurting, too."

Michelle joined College View as a guidance counselor in 2005. The same year she began helping coach the dance team at Henderson County High.

This year that team and Michelle Lewis Cotter had a big reason to celebrate. They won Nationals.

"Just a big accomplishment, but what was even bigger was that she was a role model for these girls and these girls looked up to her.  I know one girl in particular that looked at her as a sister figure," said Danielle Crafton. 

"She led by example. Very powerful person, but gentle at the same time," said Flaherty.

A powerful woman who appears to have left a big impact on two tri-state communities.

"This is the time when I think it's very important for the community to pull together. I don't think anyone on an individual basis can deal with a tragedy like this. You have to rely on each other," said Flaherty.

The school also had a vigil Tuesday night in Michelle's memory.

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