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Oldbury school in shock over teacher's death
5:28pm Thursday 7th February 2013 in News
STAFF and students at an Oldbury school are in shock following the sudden death of their highly respected sports co-ordinator.
Tony Zaidel, who taught at The Meadows Sports College special school, died from a heart attack at home last Thursday, aged 52.
Principal Gordon Phillips described him as “an exceptional, dedicated colleague,” one of his most loyal members of staff, who was loved by everyone.
He said Mr Zaidel, who became a senior leader in 2010, had taken on so many responsibilities at the school that it will take two teachers to replace him.
“During Tony’s five years he has made a real difference. He has made a huge impact on teaching and learning and has helped me to create an outstanding learning environment,” said Mr Phillips, adding: “All headteachers are criticised and moaned about at times from their staff but Tony would always challenge any criticism he heard and would defend me to the hilt.
“He totally understood and was in tune with my vision and strategic planning for the school and what I wanted to achieve.
“He was totally in tune with my vision for outdoor learning and like me had a great passion for using the school environment to facilitate learning and students’ independence.”
Mr Zaidel, whose wife Jo was in Sunderland caring for her father who had been taken seriously ill, was found dead at his home by police who were called by his anxious colleagues when he failed to turn up for work.
Staff and students, who have profound and multiple learning conditions, will gather tomorrow for a celebration of life assembly in his memory and a newly-refurbished room in the swimming pool area will be called The Tony Zaidel Aqua-Sensory and Learning Room.
His funeral will be The Holy Cross Catholic Church, West Bromwich, next Tuesday (February 19) at 12.45pm, during which a collection will be made for The British Heart Foundation.