Prince William County Schools lost a teacher to COVID-19 last week, Richard Zuckernic, a beloved a math teacher at Gar-field High School in Woodbridge.
Zuckernick is the first Prince William County teacher to die of COVID-19 and the third PWCS employee. He had been teaching virtually all year.
Zuckernick started his PWCS teaching career at Lake Ridge Middle School in 2011. He came to Gar-field in 2017 where he math courses including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. He served as a Little League Baseball umpire and fostered animals.
Zuckernick had a degree in Engineering. He served in the Navy as an engineer aboard the U.S.S Enterprise, CVN-65.
Principal Matthew Mathison sent an email to the Gar-field community, which he also shared on the school’s website.
“I am very saddened to share the news that Mr. Richard Zuckernick, Gar-Field math teacher, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19, which he had been battling for the past couple of months.”
“To all who knew him or had Mr. Zuckernick as a teacher, this is a terrible loss…Mr. Zuckernick loved teaching and was extremely dedicated to his students and to Gar-Field High School. Mr. Zuckernick is remembered by his colleagues for having a huge heart. He cared deeply for the success of his students and made learning math approachable for even the most reluctant of students.”
“My words alone cannot express the impact Mr. Zuckernick had at Gar-Field High School. He touched the lives of so many students and colleagues. Below are just a few examples of Mr. Zuckernick's lasting impact on our school community.”
Students left messages about their favorite memories of Mr. Zuckernick on the Gar-field Memorial page.
"Mr. Z was always patient and kind. He was so supportive, asking questions and listening, and always made sure we students felt both appreciated and confident about the class material. When I came to Gar-Field for my freshman year, I did not like math. I was nervous and did not very much believe in my abilities. But Mr. Z has brought me to comprehend and even love math, which I never imagined I would. He made his classroom a comfortable and safe environment, and for that I am grateful. - K.C."
"Mr. Zuckernick was truly the embodiment of what the ideal teacher should be. He realized that knowing the material was second to knowing and caring for the students and his colleagues. I have to share two memories of Zuck here since they combined truly show the man and friend he was to me."