Longtime educator who ‘fought for better future’ dies
Diann Woodard was a graduate of Detroit Public Schools who went on to become an educator, Michigan State University trustee and union official.
Mrs. Woodard, a longtime Detroit teacher and former president of the American Federation of School Administrators, died Sunday, May 6, 2018. She was 66.
“For over nearly four decades, Diann Woodard fought to give Michigan’s children a better future while fighting for justice and rights for teachers and school administrators,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, where Mrs. Woodard served as a member of the union’s Executive Council.
“America’s labor movement has lost a champion, an exemplary leader and educator,” Trumka said in a statement. “And I’ve lost a friend.”
The educator was born July 10, 1951, in Birmingham, Alabama, before moving to Detroit. She graduated from Chadsey High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in English, according to her obituary on the James H. Cole Home for Funerals website. She went on to earn her master’s and educational specialist’s degrees from Wayne State University; and received training in labor management at Harvard University.
Her Detroit Public Schools career included 36 years as a teacher, guidance counselor, dean of students and assistant principal. She also served nine years as president of the American Federation of School Administrators, according to the online obituary.
Prior to her election as president of the AFSA, she was on the union’s General Executive Board for 16 years. She was also vice president of the Organization of School Administrators and Supervisors, and served an eight-year term as a trustee at Michigan State University, the obituary said.
“From her days growing up in a UAW household in Detroit to her lifelong service to our country as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal and labor leader on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, Diann always put workers, students and families first,” Trumka said.
Survivors include daughter Kelly Woodard; sisters Linda Asbell and Helen Harvey; and brothers Mack Garner Jr. and Robert Garner.
Visitation is 6-9 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at James H. Cole Home for Funerals-Main Chapel, 2624 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. The funeral is at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Friendship Baptist Church, 3900 Beaubien St., Detroit.