Special education instructor’s sudden death leaves Glasgow MS community in shock

Kevin Iglesias didn’t have much time to make an impact at Glasgow Middle School, but he managed to leave a deeply felt impression nonetheless.

Known for his friendliness and dedication to students, the special education instructional assistant died unexpectedly from a head injury on Aug. 21, leaving his family, friends and the Bailey’s Crossroads-area middle school reeling. He was 28 years old.

“The sudden loss has hit our whole community like a punch to the gut because of who Kevin was, the community he was striving to foster around him, and the very young age he was taken from us,” said Abby Ponce, who had been a close friend of Iglesias since they grew up in West Falls Church together.

Ponce says she and Iglesias had especially fond memories of their experience attending Westlawn Elementary School, and he sought to recreate that environment of “care, love and acceptance” for Glasgow students as a staff member.

Iglesias’s commitment to supporting students and attention to their wellbeing was instantly evident to parent Jenna White when she first met him in 2018.

At the time, Iglesias was working on Glasgow’s security team, and White’s younger son, David, a special education student, was new to the school as an incoming sixth grader.

On that particular day, White stopped by the school to take care of some work she had as an officer in the Glasgow Parent Teacher Association. When Iglesias introduced himself and started talking to David, she asked if he could help show her son around the school so he could get more comfortable with the new setting.

“My son spent the next two hours just kind of hanging out with [Iglesias] and helping him, and that turned out to be a really great experience, getting to know Kevin and learning his way around the building,” White recalled.

Once school started, White says Iglesias continued to check up on David to make sure he was settling in, and she would catch up with him whenever they ran into each other.

Iglesias’s ability to connect with students inspired White to nominate him for the “Outstanding Support Staff” award that the Fairfax County Public Schools Special Education PTA (SEPTA) gave out at the end of that school year.

“It was clear that he was really, really a special person who had great interest in making sure all the students felt safe and felt welcome and were doing well in school,” she told FFXnow. “…I was happy to nominate him for that award to recognize all the effort and skill that he put in as an educator.”

The son of a single mother who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador, Iglesias was a 2012 graduate of Falls Church High School, where he played football and lacrosse.

Even then, he had a clear desire to help people, his best friend Skylar Hays says, though Hays doesn’t remember him expressing any specific interest in teaching yet.

Hays is still getting used to the absence of his “other half,” telling FFXnow that the loss “hurts every single day” and has made sleep hard to come by in the past week.

“His smile,” Hays said when asked what made Iglesias special as a friend and person. “He was always there for me and everybody else. He would always put everybody else in front of himself. He was the strongest person I knew.”

Both Ponce and White noted that Iglesias’s death is especially devastating at a time when FCPS and other school districts around the country are struggling to recruit and retain teachers — an ongoing challenge in special education.

“He was so dedicated to Glasgow, so dedicated to the students,” White said. “I think he would’ve had a very successful career in front of him where he could’ve really helped a tremendous amount of students and continued to make a huge difference at a school like Glasgow. So, it’s a tremendous loss for the Glasgow community to lose such a promising special education professional.”

The Iglesias family will hold a memorial service at National Funeral Home (7482 Lee Highway) from 3-8 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday).