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Updated Aug 20, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Slain American journalist left impression as Phoenix teacher

James Foley

PHOENIX -- American journalist James Foley, killed by Islamist militants, is being remembered by colleagues for his dedication to Phoenix students when he taught here with Teach For America.

Foley, who was abducted in Syria last year, was beheaded this week. A video posted online showing his murder surfaced Tuesday.

Friends from the nonprofit, which is dedicated to sending teachers to low-income American communities, said he would be remembered for his "tenacity, his spirit and his fierce dedication to give voice to the voiceless."

Foley taught at Lowell Elementary near First Avenue and Buckeye Road in 1996-99.

A former student shared a fond memory on social media.

In January, after Foley had been missing several months, a friend who had worked with him in Phoenix wrote of his connection to the kids in his classes.

His sense of integrity has always meant devoting himself entirely to his work. As a teacher, Jim dedicated hours to his middle school social studies students at Lowell School and stayed in touch even when he was no longer their teacher.

She recalled his promises to take the kids to the roller coasters near MetroCenter Mall if they attended daily class.

She went on say that several of his former students had been active in an Internet campaign seeking his release.

Others who knew him also went online to share:

President Obama addressed the killing , saying, "When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done. And we act against ISIL, standing alongside others."

Obama also said that ultimately groups such as ISIL fail "because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him."

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