Although Diane Elaine Pirlot didn’t initially want to be a teacher, she is thrilled that her path led her to education. She started out working at her family’s Michigan resort, Welker’s Lodge, Inc., and loved having the opportunity to meet all kinds of people. When Ms. Pirlot’s granddaughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, however, she saw that the teachers didn’t understand how to handle it and knew she had to do something to help. Now, Ms. Pirlot is thriving as a special education teacher and elementary teacher at the OUSD Ivey Ranch. Her main responsibility is to work with severely handicapped children and enable them to participate more in the world.
One of the highlights of Ms. Pirlot’s career was teaching a third grade girl with cerebral palsy and quadriplegia. The girl wanted to learn how to read, and by the time she got to high school, she was competent enough to move from special education to general education and ended up graduating with an “A” average. Ms. Pirlot is so proud of the difference she made in that student’s life, and in the lives of all of her students. Looking to the future, she hopes to be remembered as someone who was always there for others.
Ms. Pirlot prepared for her endeavors by earning a Master of Science, a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Arts from National University. She also obtained a teaching certification from the state of California and joined prominent professional organizations like the National Education Association. She has served the latter as a member of both the Special Education Caucus and the Women’s Caucus. To stay in touch with her peers, she spent time as the president of the Grand Marais, Minn., Chamber of Commerce, the leader of 4H, the president of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs, and a U.S. representative for the Bicentennial Committee. Her achievements were featured among the pages of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women.
When Ms. Pirlot isn’t teaching, she enjoys traveling and running her ranch, Farms of Ta-Dae. The 20-acre facility has close to 100 horses, and was inspired by her daughter and granddaughter.