Educator killed in Somerville hit-and-run will live on in those she taught, colleagues say

Allison J. Donovan had the big job as principal at the Lincoln Elementary School in Melrose for two years, before she returned to Watertown schools where she resumed her role as mentor, a teacher and a education advocate, according to her online obituary.

“Nothing made Allison happier when she would see children excited about a topic being discussed, wanting to learn more, and seeing their eyes light up because they understood a subject,’’ her online obituary reads. “Her spirit will live on in the teachers and students whom she stimulated and helped form a strong educational foundation” for.

Donovan was fatally injured in a hit-and-run crash in Somerville while in the crosswalk on Powderhouse Boulevard near the intersection with Hardan Road around 7:16 p.m. last Friday. A woman walking with Donovan was also struck, but was later released from the hospital, officials said.


Donovan was struck by a pick-up truck whose driver then sped away from the scene, and Somerville police and Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office are continuing to search for the vehicle, which may have been a black Ford F-150.

The vehicle was a newer model, full-size, black pick-up truck with front-end driver’s-side damage. The vehicle has a black cover over the bed of the truck, officials said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Somerville police at 617-625-1600 extension 7250 or 7254. The lines manned 24 hours day by sworn officers. Text messages can be send to 617spd and send it to TIP411 (847411).

Donovan’s family issued a brief statement after Donovan’s death.

“We appreciate the love and support we have received from family and friends and the Watertown School System. We are thankful to the Somerville Police Department for their efforts investigating this incident,’’ the family said. “At this time we have no further comment. We ask for privacy as we mourn Allison’s passing.”


As authorities investigate, those who knew and worked with the 40-year-old Donovan have been speaking about the woman who prized her career as an educator. Melrose School Superintendent Cyndy Taymore issued a statement recalling Donovan and her two years at the Lincoln school.

“She sought to lead the Lincoln community with kindness, good humor and concern for the well being of all our students. She was well liked and respected by the entire Melrose Public Schools community,’’ Taymore said. “Our administration, faculty and staff were saddened to hear about the sudden and senseless death of Allison.”

The bulk of Donovan’s career was spent in the Watertown public school system where she was currently working as the elementary literacy and Title 1 coordinator. She had previously spent 12 years in the classroom at Hosmer Elementary school, worked as the interim principal at the J.R. Lowell school and spent two years as the Watertown Elementary Curriculum Coordinator.

Donovan loved hiking around Spy Pond and rock climbing at Acadia National Park in Maine.

“She lived her life giving of herself to others and her legacy will live on in so many of us who have benefited from her collaborative leadership, rich expertise, warmth, kindness, concern, and love that she bestowed upon all those who touched her in any manner,’’ her online obituary reads.

A funeral Mass will be said for Donovan Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in St. Margaret’s Church in Burlington, her hometown.


Donations can be made to the Watertown High School Scholarship program for the Allison Donovan Memorial Scholarship.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.