Metro Nashville Public Schools officials and city leaders are mourning the death of school board chair Anna Shepherd, who died overnight after being hospitalized on Friday for prior medical issues, the district announced on June 9. Shepherd was 68.

"We were so fortunate to have the warmth and leadership of Anna in our lives and on the Board of Education," Director of Schools Adrienne Battle said in a release. "She was a passionate champion of public schools, especially McGavock High School where she had previously served as president of the Band Boosters. Tough and challenging when necessary, Anna always pushed myself and other district staff to be the best and do the best we could to improve the lives of the students we serve and the quality of education we provide. My prayers are with her husband Larry, her family and her friends in the community who loved her so dearly."

Shepherd represented Donelson, Hermitage and Old Hickory schools on the board since 2010. At the time of her death, she was serving her second term as school board chair.

"Anna was an amazing leader," School Board Vice Chair Amy Frogge said. "She carried the Board through some difficult transitions and made sure we got our focus back on what matters most: the students. With her heart, her humor, and her commitment to our schools and families, Anna leaves an indelible legacy. She made Nashville a better place."

In a statement, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said Shepherd was a strong advocate for students in the district.

"As the board chair, Anna was a valued partner, fierce advocate for students, and someone whose thoughts I always sought out," Cooper said. "She will be missed."