Published February 15, 2019

MELROSE — Former Lincoln School principal Allison Donovan, a professional educator her whole career, died last week after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in Somerville. She was 40 years old.

According to reports, Donovan, a Watertown Title I coordinator and literacy coordinator at the time of her death, was walking near her home with another woman on Powder House Boulevard when she was struck in a crosswalk around 7:15 p.m. The driver of a black pickup truck reportedly fled the scene.

Donovan was pronounced dead at Mt. Auburn Hospital. The other woman was discharged from the facility.

Donovan, who grew up in Burlington, had been a Somerville resident for about 15 years. Neighbors said she was a beloved resident of the section of Powderhouse Boulevard she died on.


Melrose Supt. of Schools Cyndy Taymore said in a statement, “We were extremely saddened to hear about the tragic death of Allison Donovan Friday night.

“Allison served as the principal of the Lincoln Elementary School from 2015 to 2017. During those two years with the Melrose public schools, 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.

“At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, Allison returned to Watertown to serve as an instructional coach, where she could continue to foster her passion for curriculum and instruction.

“Our administration, faculty and staff were saddened to hear about the sudden and senseless death of Allison. On behalf of the entire Melrose public schools’ community, I wish to extend my most heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues in Watertown.”

According to her obituary, Allison Donovan’s love of teaching was inspired by her mother Janice, who taught in the Burlington school system. Allison went to her mother’s alma mater, Lesley University in Cambridge, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Education, a master’s degree and a graduate certificate in Literacy for the Classroom.

“Like her mother,” the obituary states, “teaching was her passion, her life and her love.”

Before being named the Lincoln School principal in 2015, Allison was an elementary education teachr at the Hosmer Elementary School in Watertown. She then spent two years as the Watertown Elementary Curriculum Coordinator.

For 2014-15, she was the interim principal at Watertown’s J.R. Lowell Elementary School and then was chosen to lead the Lincoln, Melrose’s most culturally-diverse grade school.

“She enjoyed her position as principal,” the obituary continues, “but felt her calling was not as an administrator of a school but more as a teacher, mentor and education advocate. So she returned to the Watertown School system in 2017 as the K-8 literacy and Title 1 Coordinator.

“It was that role that she was destined to be. She cared deeply about the success and wellbeing of all teachers and students with whom she worked. As a curriculum coordinator, she could give her fellow teachers the tools to give their students a strong foundation they can build upon as students.

“She was not just helping one class or school, but all the students in the Watertown school system.

“She was also a coach for the Destination Imagination Club as well. Destination Imagination gave students the opportunity to compete in local, regional, and national competitions in which students learn problem solving, teamwork, and creativity skills. Nothing made Allison happier than when she would see children excited in a topic being discussed, wanting to learn more, and seeing their eyes light up because they understood a subject.

“Allison received so much joy as a teacher and administrator and her spirit will live on in the teachers and students whom she stimulated and helped form a strong educational foundation required to help children progress as students and young adults.”

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Somerville Police asked for help identifying the driver of the suspect vehicle, and the Somerville City Council president urged immediate roadway changes to Powder House Boulevard to increase safety of pedestrians.