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Passenger remembered as dedicated educator

Photo taken in September 2011 of Jane Unhjem,

Photo taken in September 2011 of Jane Unhjem, Goshen school assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, who was killed on Sunday, Aug. 19, from injuries sustained from a plane crash in Shirley. Credit: Goshen Central School District

Jane Unhjem, a passenger who was killed Sunday when a single-engine plane crashed in Shirley, was a popular assistant school superintendent in upstate Goshen. The effect of her sudden death will be hard to measure, her boss said last night.

"She was highly respected by a lot of folks in the community," said Daniel T. Connor, superintendent of the Goshen Central School District. "It's going to be a very difficult thing to deal with, especially as we prepare to open our schools."

Unhjem, 60, died at Stony Brook University Hospital several hours after she sustained severe burns in the crash that critically injured her husband Erik, 61, and killed the pilot, who has not been identified.

Connor said Jane Unhjem was in charge of curriculum and instruction for the district and was bright, well-respected and one of its go-to people when it came to new education technologies.

"Her loss is going to have a profound impact for a long time to come," he said.

Erik Unhjem is a product manager for Pearson Education, a software education company, according to his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. He is a 1968 graduate of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.

The couple both graduated from Wagner College in Staten Island, according to several social media profiles.

Erik Unhjem received a master's degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, according to his Facebook profile.

Neighbors of the couple said they have two adult children, Matthew, 25, and Gayle, 27.

Stephen Gallos, who lives next door to the couple in Goshen, a village in Orange County, said they were "respected neighbors" and Jane Unhjem was widelyknown in the Goshen community because of her prominence in the village school district.

Earlier in her career, Jane Unhjem worked as a special-education teacher in Orange County and as director of staff development for the Monroe-Woodbury School District, according to her profile on LinkedIn.

With Christian Wade

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