WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Congratulations are in order for a long-time Wichita Falls educator.
Diann Taylor was honored by the school she used to lead as Kirby Middle School named its library after her.
In a packed school Wednesday afternoon, former co-workers, students and family took time to recognize all Taylor has done for education in Wichita Falls, and they unveiled the library’s new name: the Diann Taylor Library of Excellence.
The library was supposed to be dedicated in 2015, but when the school went under construction it got pushed back a bit.
Now the central space will forever honor the educator who gave so much to her community and students.
For WFISD truancy caseworker Martha Catano, this means even more.
Taylor was Catano’s basketball coach in the 1970s before they went on to work together at Kirby and in the truancy office.
“Diann Taylor has changed so many lives over the years, she’s all about students, she’s always been about students and their success and there’s nothing that she wouldn’t do, she just a very caring, loving, giving person,” Catano said.
Taylor touched the lives of many students in WFISD for 40 years.
Taylor said she is humbled by the honor, and her passion for kids started her senior year in high school and despite being retired, it hasn’t stopped.
“I always wanted to make a difference in the lives of students,” Taylor said.
Diann Taylor spent 41 years molding students and said she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“My senior year in high school I had a coach that I just fell in love with and always said I wanted to be a coach like her,” Taylor said.
So she did. The MSU grad got her start in education in Sweetwater, Texas. One year later, she began her career in the Wichita Falls Independent School District at Kirby Junior High School. One of her former students Edward Mack said her positive attitude stood out the most to him.
“Just the way she treated us,” former student Edward Mack said. “She was a great coach and she was always good with the kids.”
Taylor was also the girl’s basketball coach where she led the team to a championship.
Became principal for 14 years under her leadership, Kirby Junior High received a number of awards including the National Blue Ribbon award for National School of Excellence. Taylor received the Terrel H. Bell Leadership award, out of 147 schools.
“It was a challenge, but yet that staff and administrative team there met that challenge every day,” Taylor said.
Taylor also taught at Lamar, Fannin and Alamo elementary schools. She was the assistant dean of girls at Hirschi, assistant principal at Booker T. Washington, principal at Lamar for four years and while she taught many students, she learned a lot herself.
“That each day is a new day, and you start each day to make a difference in the life not only in school, but in my retirement, I try to make a difference with those that I meet in the community,” Taylor said.
Taylor said her biggest achievement is the friendships and relationships she has built with students, the community, staff and teachers over the years. She said her advice to is to be themselves and do the best they can every day for someone in their community.
Taylor still works with kids. She in her 25th year serving on the board for Boys and Girls Club, and she works with Project Back to School among other things.