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Beloved Bergen County school principal honored by community after losing life to car crash

Friends, family and colleagues joined together at the school to honor Dr. Bailey, who was also a pastor and had been with the school district for 20 years.

Naomi Yané and News 12 Staff

Jul 11, 2024, 12:38 AM

Updated 8 days ago


Tragedy struck a Bergen County school for the second time this year when a beloved principal died while on vacation in South Africa.
Friends, family, and colleagues gathered in front of Greico Elementary School where Dr. Daniela Small-Bailey had been the principal for the last 10 years.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marnie Hazelton said this was a trip the educator looked forward to. "She took pride in talking about her children and her grandchildren and she spoke about an upcoming trip to South Africa to see her grandbabies," she said.
While on that yearly trip to South Africa, Dr. Bailey was killed in a head-on crash with a police vehicle on the Fourth of July. Also killed in that crash, Dr. Bailey’s 35-year-old son, Sidanii Bell. Both were in the country visiting Bell’s two children, who live in South Africa with their mother.
Dr. Bailey who was also a pastor and had been with the school district for 20 years, was remembered as vibrant with a larger-than-life personality and a pillar in the community.
Englewood resident Dr. Malva Wise-White added," She was able to bridge community together she was an excellent educator she was an advocate for our children she was one who promoted unity within the community working with parents as well as teachers."
This is the third traffic-related death for the school district. In March, teacher Elizabeth Rosa was killed in a hit-and-run, and in 2022, the superintendent at the time also died in a car crash
"It is evident by this gathering that her impact was profound and her vibrant and dynamic presence will be dearly missed by everyone who encountered her remarkable spirit," said Tennika Williams, Bailey's sister.

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