Franklin West Supervisory Union superintendent dies unexpectedly

FAIRFAX, Vt. (WCAX) A local school community is mourning the loss of their superintendent.

Ned Kirsch/File

Franklin West Supervisory Union Superintendent Ned Kirsch died suddenly Wednesday night according to a statement.

Kirsch's death comes just days after he visited Florida, where his brother and sister-in-law died unexpectedly linked to a hepatitis A outbreak. Jeff and Nancy Kirsch, both 62, were found dead inside their Palm City, Florida home last month. Florida health officials in Martin County are reporting 26 cases of Hep A, as well as three deaths.

"I think what's most surprising to me was that they said health clinics knew about this in early March and the fact that my brother was misdiagnosed is troublesome," Ned Kirsch told Channel 3 affiliate CBS12 on Wednesday. "It's really depressing. I would be terrified if I lived down there."

There were no immediate details on Ned Kirsch's cause of death. The Vermont Medical Examiner is investigating.

School officials say Kirsch was a strong leader in the schools for nearly a decade and had an infectious smile and enthusiasm.

Vermont Education Secretary Dan French said in a statement said he was deeply saddened to hear about Kirsch's death.

"His death is a huge loss for the Vermont education community. He was a major thought leader on technology use in schools, personalizing student learning and international education. He was an inspiring and innovative leader whose work will have a lasting impact on his students, his schools and on those of us who were privileged to have worked with him," French said.

Kirsch also served as Essex Middle School principal for 10 years among other teaching positions. He had a law degree from the Vermont Law School and a certificate of advanced study from the University of Vermont in educational leadership.

A celebration of his life will be planned for the school community.