Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo said in an email that the Worcester campus was in shock.
“The Assumption College campus community mourns the tragic death of Colleen Elizabeth Ritzer, a 2011 alumna who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in psychology with a concentration in secondary education,” he said. “Colleen worked as a math teacher at Danvers High School and will be missed by all those who knew her.
“The Assumption community will keep Colleen’s family members in its thoughts and prayers during this time of great sorrow and loss. We pray that God will give them strength and comfort during these difficult days and commend Colleen to God’s loving presence.”
The president of Salem State University also issued a statement, saying that the Ritzer, in the school’s graduate program, was a “bright and vibrant student ... who was the victim of a violent crime.”
She noted that Ritzer wanted to help children with special needs.
In 2007 when she graduated from Andover High School, Ritzer received a technology award for Excellence in TV production. Joe Spanos, the retired head of the TV production department at the high school, remembered Ritzer well.
“I cried when I heard the sad news this morning,” said Spanos, who still lives in Andover and retired two years ago. “She was a great student. I taught her in my TV production class. She was a teaching assistant.”
He noted, “She always wanted to be a teacher.”
Before working at Danvers, she worked at a middle school in Stow, Mass., also teaching math.