Rialto School District loses beloved educator, alumnus to COVID-19

Photo courtesy RUSD: Daniel Macias, a beloved Jehue Middle School teacher, recently lost his battle with COVID-19 at 38 years old. Pictured with his "Teacher of the Month" award from 2015, Macias will be remembered as a loving son, husband, father, and at the Rialto Unified School District, an esteemed teacher, colleague and friend.
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Daniel Macias will be remembered as a loving son, husband, father, and at the Rialto Unified School District (RUSD), a beloved teacher, colleague and friend. 

Daniel lost his battle with COVID-19 on Thursday, Sept. 9. He was 38 years old.

A 15-year veteran teacher at Jehue Middle School in the RUSD, Daniel served as an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher, and Chair of the Math Department.  

Daniel’s death came two weeks after his wife Davy Macias died from COVID-19. She worked as a registered nurse in the labor and delivery ward at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center. They left behind five young children, one of whom is a newborn.

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The couple was hospitalized in August after contracting the virus. Davy died on August 26, eight days after giving birth to a baby girl via Cesarean section while she was in the intensive care unit. 

Daniel’s mother Terry Macias, who recently retired as a teacher at Morris Elementary School in the RUSD, has been caring for the five children ages 8, 5, 3, 2, and 5 weeks. In an interview with CNN, she stated that she considered Daniel to be “a perfect son.”  

“In my heart, I always knew he was the perfect boy,” Terry stated to the national network news channel. “Seeing others felt the same way feels like validation. They loved their kids more than anything.”

Due to the nature of both husband and wife passing within weeks of each other, news coverage of the heartbreaking tragedy spread around the globe. With it, tributes have poured in, recognizing the compassion with which Daniel and Davy lived their lives. It was also reported that Macias was the first known case of a COVID-19 fatality in the school district.

“Daniel was the kind of guy who was everyone’s friend,” Michaeline Kellmer, Jehue Middle School AVID English teacher and family friend, reflected. “Truly, he was liked and loved by all, staff and students alike. If there was any fault to be said of him, it was that he was too nice! And Davy was much the same. They were an incredible duo. We definitely feel the void without Daniel here. He was a one-of-a-kind type of person. Davy too.”

Daniel and Davy both graduated from the RUSD; Daniel from Rialto High School while Davy claimed Eisenhower High as her alma mater. 

In Daniel, the RUSD lost a dedicated teacher. He began working in the RUSD as an Instructional Assistant at Eisenhower High School in 2002. He later became an AVID tutor at Eisenhower HS and consequently a substitute teacher at Jehue Middle School. He was hired full-time as a teacher in 2006. 

“Mr. Macias was a kind, intelligent and humble man who always put others first,” Jehue Middle School Principal Carolyn Eide recalled. “He loved the Dodgers. He was completely dedicated to preparing students for college, career, and life, and he used AVID, math and sports as his platform. The impact that he had on so many lives is a true testament to a man who had a passion for education and making people’s lives better. I will miss his ready smile, but I also know that he would want each of us to carry on, help each other out, and put students first.”

Daniel’s fellow teachers also echoed Eide’s comments, particularly Troy Holland who was like a brother to him.

“When I think of Daniel Macias, one phrase that comes to mind, he would give you the shirt off his back if you asked,” remembered Holland, Jehue Middle School AVID/Math/Science teacher. “There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do. He was our math coach but would do anything to help the Jehue students and staff be successful. Daniel worked hard and played hard. He loved sports. He coached Jehue’s flag football team to several championships and enjoyed going to baseball spring training in Arizona. Daniel won’t just be missed by Jehue, he will be missed by everyone.”

He talked lovingly and endlessly about his wife and children. His family was never far from his classroom as he was always prepared to share photos of his growing family.

AVID tutors Jennifer Orozco, Atianna Williams, Damaris Orellana, Jennifer Meneses, Sierra Jaramillo, Larena  Renova, Mariah Pina, Gina Viorato, Tiana Catchings and Stephanie Orozco released a public statement: “Daniel loved his wife and kids with all his heart. He would always be ready to show us pictures of the kids from their latest adventures, Spirit Day at school, or the latest idea his wife had for him to build. Mr. Macias was not just a math teacher for us, he was our mentor/friend that cared for us like his own, our self-proclaimed ‘Work Dad.’ Mr. Macias was the kind of person who truly cared for every single person in his life and made sure that person knew he was always in their corner, even from afar. The past week has not been easy for us as we have lost the most important part of our AVID Family, but all we can say is thank you, Mr. Macias. Thank you for being the extra support we needed during rough times. Thank you for cultivating a safe and close environment for us to come and be ourselves. Thank you for being the best dad and husband possible to Davy and your kids. Thank you for being you, Mr. Macias. There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.”

Donations to help his children with essentials, preferably in the form of gift cards, along with messages of support can be dropped off at or mailed to Jehue Middle School care of Holland and Kellmer; The Macias Family ℅ Jehue Middle School, Troy Holland, 1500 North Eucalyptus Avenue, Colton, CA 92324. 

“As evident by the outpouring of love and support, Mr. Macias had a tremendous impact on the lives of students and staff in our District,” Syeda Jafri, RUSD spokeswoman, stated. “On behalf of the RUSD Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, our thoughts and condolences continue to be with the families and the couple’s children in this time of unquestionable grief and transition. Following his mother’s footsteps, he selected to be a classroom teacher, and in doing so, Mr. Macias touched thousands of lives. We know that his legacy will live within the students that he taught with care and compassion.”

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