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Birmingham, Novi Mourns Beloved Sixth-Grade Teacher

The funeral for Renee Flennoy is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield; Derby Middle School will let out early Friday to allow students and staff to attend.

Renee Flennoy, a sixth-grade language arts, reading and social studies teacher at  in Birmingham, died Sunday after a long battle with health issues.

Flennoy, 54, had been on medical leave from Derby since October. The Novi resident leaves behind her husband, Grant, and her two college-age children, Grant Jr. and Khristen.

Flennoy's funeral is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway in Southfield, with visitation beginning at 11:30 a.m.

To allow students and staff to attend the funeral, Derby will have a half-day of school Friday, Derby Principal Debbie Hubbell announced Tuesday.

Since Flennoy went on medical leave, the middle school has held several fundraisers for her, including Flying Pies for Flennoy in September, the December at the Somerset Collection's Lilly Pulitzer and on Jan. 7 at Troy Gymnastics Center.

In a message to students Monday morning, Hubbell noted the support extended toward Flennoy from the entire Derby community.

“Our entire school has been united in these caring actions and so many more,” she said. “The next few hours and days will be sad ones for all of us.”

Flennoy had been with the district for 17 years. She joined the district in 1995 after spending 15 years as a second- through fifth-grade teacher in the Detroit Public Schools system.

During her time at Derby, Flennoy served on the district's language arts curriculum committee, the district's cultural diversity committee as well as Derby's school improvement plan committeee.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Birmingham Board of Education, trustees passed a resolution honoring Flennoy and her service to the district.

"I've had the privilege of knowing Mrs. Flennoy," school board President Susan Hill said. "She was truly a lovely, lovely woman. She will be missed."

Extra guidance counselors will be available for students at Derby, and throughout the district, all week. The school will also provide a safe room for students who may be upset.

This is the second death of a Derby teacher due to illness in the past nine months. In June, of complications from stomach cancer.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent David Larson recognized Hubbell's leadership and the strength of the Derby community, given what they've gone through in the past year.

"It's been a challenging year at Derby with Redi Abazi passing away," Larson said. "They've really grown and endured a challenging year. Please consider them in our thoughts and prayers."

Dismissal for Derby students will be at 11:20 a.m. Friday, and bus service will be provided.

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