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Steven Curtis Chapman praises head of Nashville school killed in shooting

Nashville school shooting victim Katherine Koonce, who was the head of the private Christian school, would “move toward, step into trouble, pain, hard things” to help others, singer Steven Curtis Chapman said.

Chapman, the most awarded Christian artist ever, spoke to Anderson Cooper about his close friend on the TV show “Anderson Cooper 360.” Koonce was one of six victims of a school shooting at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville for preschool through sixth-grade students. The 60-year-old Koonce was killed along with two other adults and three 9-year-old students.

“When we lost our younger daughter Maria in a very tragic way, our son Will in particular was carrying a very, very heavy weight,” Chapman said. “Koonce became a `mentor, friend, confidante, she was all of those things, and teacher.’ As hard and as awful as that story was for us, she ran toward it.”

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Koonce spent most of her career at two Nashville Christian schools, the last seven years as the head of school at The Covenant School and 15 years as a leader at Christ Presbyterian Academy, earning admiration and respect from communities at both places.

Chapman said Koonce’s supernatural power was kindness. He added that when he and his wife first found out about what was happening at the school, he recalled his wife saying, “I know her well enough to know that she was probably doing everything she could to change this story, to stop this thing from happening, to talk to this person, whatever she could do.”

The five-time Grammy Award winning artist said he is clinging to the hope of seeing those he has lost again. “I really believe it’s not wishful thinking to say I know we’re going to see her again, we’re going to see our daughter again, and that’s the hope that keeps us moving forward,” he said.

–Dwight Widaman


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