BELLVILLE, Ohio -- Jamie Chamberlain has been described as a talented professional who will be missed by students and staff in Clear Fork. The 40-year-old Spanish teacher died Sept. 25 after battling cancer.
The Baldwin-Wallace graduate taught at Clear Fork High School for 16 years. Her students say they remember her as a role model that encouraged them to both work hard and care about other people. Students also remarked on her kindness and the extra time she gave to help them succeed.
“She brought professionalism out in others; she motivated people to higher standards,” said High School Principal Brian Brown. Colleagues describe the long hours she spent after school helping students and preparing for the classroom.
Fellow teacher Heather Keating described Chamberlain as “the definition of an exceptional teacher; her impact will probably never be grasped.” Like other staff members, she is quick to point out Chamberlain’s friendship and encouragement.
“Knowing Jamie made me a better person,” said Assistant Principal and family friend Sean Ramion. He says he visited weekly during her illness and values the conversations they had.
“She was strong in her faith, family and friends,” said Ramion. Ramion, who worked with Chamberlain for 11 years, added that he hopes people will remember her “great sense of humor.”
“Above all Jamie was a person of faith,” remarked fellow teacher Sandra McDaniel. Staff and students noted her strong faith as a reason for her compassion and impact on so many lives. “She strived for excellence as a person, as a Christian, and as a mom,” McDaniel added.
"A lot of the cheerleaders had had her as a teacher and she had made a huge impact on Kaylee (Gates) and I and we did this to raise some money for her medical bills," Kaitlyn King said of the photo showing Chamberlain with the cheerleaders. They organized a "pink it up" game during a basketball game and pink ribbons were sold.
Over the years Chamberlain participated in several mission trips to Belize, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Pastor Mike Cloud said she was an interpreter for the group on those trips. Locally, Cloud said she served as an interpreter for several Spanish-speaking churches in the area. She worked with the youth ministries at her church: Impact Worship Center.
School officials said several students went to the office for consoling on Sept. 28 after learning of her death over the weekend. “It is a testimony to her and what she meant to the students,” Ramion said.
A Shelby native, Chamberlain was also a girl’s basketball and track coach early in her teaching career. Friends say she gave up coaching to focus on her family, including her daughter Ramsey.
Her husband Jake posted online comments thanking well-wishers for their condolences. He said, “Jamie was a special person to each and everyone she touched.” He noted her dedication to students and the classroom, her church and mission trips taken to Spanish speaking countries.
Brown said students and staff are affected by the news of cancer because almost everyone knows someone who has battled the disease. “She never wanted her condition to be the topic of pit or gossip,” he said, noting that Chamberlain expected to be able to return.
Brown said a memorial at the school is planned for the future. “We want to do something that represents her in a way she would like.”