Longtime educator struck by vehicle in Fitchburg, dies

FITCHBURG, Wis. — A 56-year-old woman died after being hit by a vehicle in Fitchburg Tuesday morning, the city’s police department said.

The crash occurred at around 6:30 a.m. in the 2900 block of South Syene Road.

In a news release, police said the woman was taken to an area hospital for treatment and later died. The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

South Syene Road was closed between McCoy Road and Ninebark Drive near the scene of the crash for about three and a half hours during the investigation.

In a statement to parents Tuesday, Verona Area School District Superintendent Dr. Tremayne Clardy confirmed that Badger Ridge Middle School Principal Beth Steffen was struck by a vehicle while on a morning walk near her home and later died.

“We are devastated by this news,” Clardy said. “We will continue to build upon meaningful relationships between students and staff.”

Steffen was appointed as interim principal at the middle school last year, according to the Verona Press. She was previously the Language, Literacy and Equity specialist at Badger Ridge, and took over as principal for Jamie Thomas, who had resigned.

She has also served as a principal at Edgewood High School in Madison according to her Linkedin page, and as an assistant principal of La Follette High School from 2016 to 2018. She was also a literacy coach and English teacher in the Madison Metropolitan School District, starting in 2001 after a stint as an English teacher at the Beloit Memorial High School.

Steffen got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A full statement from the district can be read below:

Dear Verona Area School District Families,

The Verona Area School District has experienced a deep loss today. I am writing with extremely sad news. Our hearts are beyond broken. This morning, Badger Ridge Middle School Principal Beth Steffen was struck by a vehicle while out on her morning walk near her home. Beth did not survive the accident, she has passed away. We are devastated by this news.

We know that all of our students and staff and families will process this news differently. We will continue to build upon meaningful relationships between students and staff. School staff, including counselors and social workers, are available to assist students and staff.

I want to acknowledge the difficulties our VASD families may be facing as you process these events. We will continue to provide updates as available and appropriate.

In Service,

Dr. Tremayne Clardy


Edgewood High School President Kevin Rea also issued a statement calling her a “passionate advocate for teachers and students.”

The full statement reads:

Dear Edgewood Community,

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that our former Principal, Beth Steffen, unexpectedly passed away this morning as a result of injuries sustained in an accident. Beth was a passionate advocate for teachers and students. We are all devastated by this news, and our prayers are with her family. I will provide updates when available and appropriate. Please continue to keep Beth and her family in your heartfelt prayers. Counselors and Student Services resources will be available upon the students’ return to school on January 9.

Kevin Rea, President
Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart

MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds called Steffen’s death “deeply heartbreaking for the entire MMSD community.”

The district’s full statement reads:

The news of Verona Principal Beth Steffen’s passing is deeply heartbreaking for the entire MMSD community. Prior to her work at Edgewood and as Principal of Badger Ridge Middle School in Verona, Beth was a beloved MMSD educator for two decades and served in the roles of Teacher, Instructional Coach and as Assistant Principal at Madison LaFollette High School. For our students who knew her and the many MMSD staff who worked with her over the years, this tragic news has been very difficult to process. LaFollette student services along with the MMSD Crisis Response team will be available tomorrow to provide support to anyone who needs it. We ask you to join us in keeping Beth’s family, friends, the Badger Ridge Middle School community and the Verona Area School District in our thoughts today, tomorrow and in the days ahead.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is urged to contact Fitchburg police at (608)270-4300 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608)266-6014. Tips can be submitted online at p3tips.com.

If you knew Steffen and wish to share memories from her life, please contact us at tips@old.channel3000.com