A science teacher at a Minneapolis alternative high school who inspired students "to achieve beyond what they ever believed" collapsed in front of her class this week and died at a hospital later that day.

Lori Blomme, 40, had taught at Menlo Park Academy in northeast Minneapolis since 2003. Blomme collapsed Monday while leading the class, said brother-in-law David Blomme.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, school district spokeswoman Rachel Hicks said Blomme suffered "a medical emergency."

David Blomme said Lori led a very busy life and was feeling some stress over the family dog's brief disappearance, but she was in good health and took care of herself. He said the family has no immediate clue about why she died and is awaiting autopsy results, which could take weeks to be complete.

Menlo Park Academy, at 1700 NE. 2nd St., has about 70 students in grades 10-12 and has fewer students per classroom than do most high schools.

"Lori was a committed and caring teacher who dedicated so much of herself to the Menlo Park school community," said Helen Henly, the school's director. "She inspired and encouraged students to achieve beyond what they ever believed."

School district crisis-response staff members and others helped the Menlo Park students and faculty cope with the death, Hicks said. Also, staffers at Menlo Park called families that afternoon to relay the news, the district spokeswoman added.

"Lori served many roles to many people, and she filled them with great competence and compassion," Henly said. "Her spirit will continue to be with us, and she will be greatly missed by all of us."

David Blomme said his sister-in-law enjoyed teaching at the nontraditional high school because "she was one who thought she could make a change and could also learn from her students."

Blomme grew up in South Dakota and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 1996.

She lived in south Minneapolis and is survived by a husband and two daughters, ages 6 and 8. Her funeral is scheduled for Friday at Church of the Holy Name, 3637 11th Av. S., Minneapolis.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482