Teacher’s death second tragedy to strike R.K. Smith faculty

Educator, husband found dead by young daughter

Michelle Stuckey
January 21, 2011 at 9:41 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

R.K. Smith Middle School faculty and students are mourning their second loss in less than two years as a teacher was killed in an apparent murder-suicide on Jan. 13.

Science teacher Fenisha Charles, 38, and her husband, Carroll Charles Jr., 40, were discovered lying on their bedroom floor by their 15-year-old daughter at around 7:35 p.m. last Thursday. The daughter told authorities that she was sleeping when she awoke to the sound of gunshots.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said that the couple was experiencing marital problems and that Carroll shot his wife twice before turning the gun on himself.

Fenisha taught 7th-grade science at R.K. Smith Middle. Her death comes after the school's loss of its principal, Nicole LeBeauf, 41, to cancer in late November 2009.

Harold Blood, the current principal of R.K. Smith, said that losing two beloved educators in such a short period of time has made Charles’ passing harder. But he added that LeBeauf’s death made the students and faculty stronger and more prepared to deal with loss.

"It was hard in the beginning, but now they’re reflecting on all of the good times they had with (Charles)," Blood said.
Charles had served as an educator for eight years and co-workers say that she was a passionate teacher who was a hard worker.

“Fenisha always found the good in everybody she ran into and always went the extra mile to help people. She was someone you could depend on, very honest, timely, a hard worker and a Christian,” Blood said. “She was respected by all and loved by all. This is a tremendous loss for our R.K. Smith family.”

Fenisha started her career in August 2000 at Norco Elementary 4-6 as a 5th grade teacher. She left the district in 2006 to manage her husband’s construction company. She rejoined the district in August 2009 as a 7th grade science teacher at R.K. Smith Middle.

A 1990 graduate of Destrehan High School, Fenisha received her Bachelor of Arts from Southern University at New Orleans.

She leaves behind two daughters: a 19-year-old Xavier University student and a 15-year-old Destrehan High School student.

Superintendent Rodney Lafon said that support teams were on hand at R.K. Smith Middle on Friday to help teachers and students.

“The long weekend probably gave the students time to mourn and get perspective,” said Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard, director of public information for the school district.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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